Male Adelie penguin displaying for a mate
 - Pygoscelis adeliae

Adelie penguins

What a handsome fellow! This male adelie is a bit late compared to the others around him who have in the main already paired and nested. The males arrive at the breeding grounds first, find a good spot and then go through this display with much raucous calling and flipper waving to attract a suitably impressed female. (A similar ritual is re-enacted on Friday and Saturday evenings at bars and clubs the world over)

This shot also shows the half-feathered beak characteristic of Adelies and how stocky and powerful they are despite their diminutive stature. A friend I was with on a similar occasion was attacked by an unhappy Adelie that had decided he was too close to the nest. My friend described it as " having 5kg of solid muscle hanging from your skin by a pair of pliers" - please don't try this at home.

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Photo copyright - Paul Ward /