Pair of Adelie penguins on sea-ice
 - Pygoscelis adeliae

Adelie penguins

There are more Adelie penguins than any other penguin species. They live in the deep south and as such frequently have to cross many kilometers of ice still bound to the continent or islands to reach land in the spring where they can build their nests. Sometimes they have to travel as much as 100 kilometers, though usually 20-40 is more usual. A long walk nevertheless.  

This pair were early arrivals in spring at an Antarctic Island near the northern edge of their breeding range and only had about half a kilometer to waddle and "toboggan". Despite appearances, they are most probably not a mated pair but two males who just happen to be travelling together for the time being, the females arrive a little later on.

Tobogganing is a way of getting around where there is smooth snow or ice. The penguin lies on its stomach and propels itself along using its feet, an efficient use of energy and one where the penguin can easily keep up with a running human.


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Photo copyright - Paul Ward /