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Magellanic Penguin
Similar Birds:
 Humboldt Penguin
 African Penguin
 Galapagos Penguin

Magellanic Penguin

Magellanic Penguin

Magellanic Penguin
Photographer: Steve Deger

Magellanic Penguin Range Map (South America)
Magellanic Penguin Range Map (South America)
Latin Name Spheniscus magellanicus
Conservation Status Near Threatened
Location South America
Colour Black/Grey & White
Height 70 - 76 cms (28 - 30 inches)
Weight 4 - 6 Kgs (8.8 - 13 lbs)
Life Expectancy Up to 25 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Magellanic Penguins are between 70 and 76 cms (28 - 30 inches) in height and they weigh between 4 and 6 kgs (8.8 and 13 lbs). They are coloured black/dark grey on their back and white on their front. They have a distinctive, black, horseshoe shaped band on their front and a thick black band that runs under their chin.

Their tail is short and wedge shaped and they have long, narrow wings that they use like paddles when swimming. They are excellent swimmers and can swim at speeds over 24 km/hr (15 mph).

During periods of warmer weather Magellanic Penguins lose their feathers around their eyes. As the weather becomes colder, their feathers grow back once again.


Magellanic Penguins are found around the coast line of Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. They spend their time at sea and when they come ashore to breed they form large colonies.


Magellanic Penguins feed on fish, squid and crustaceans. They tend to hunt in groups and make relatively shallow foraging dives.


Magellanic Penguins breed between September and February and they gather in large nesting colonies. They pair up for life and they construct their nests under bushes or in burrows.

Two eggs are laid and they are incubated for 39 - 42 days. Both parents incubate the eggs taking it in turns for 10 - 15 days shifts. Upon hatching the chicks are cared for by both parents for one month and they are fed every 2 - 3 days. They gain their adult plumage when they are approximately one month old and at 60 - 70 days old they are ready to head out to sea.

Magellanic Penguins become sexually mature between 2 and 3 years of age.


Predators of adult Magellanic Penguins include sea lions and their chicks are preyed upon by kelp gulls and the giant petrel.


There are no subspecies of the Magellanic Penguin.

Interesting Facts

The closest relatives of the Magellanic Penguin are:
African Penguin
Humboldt Penguin
Galapagos Penguin

Magellanic Penguins were named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first saw them on a voyage in 1519.

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