There are 18 penguin species. Could you choose a favourite?
By Natalie Long, WWF-Australia
Is it possible to choose one penguin that is above all the rest?
A recent trip to the bottom of the Earth opened my eyes to the lives of penguins. On my journey to Antarctica via South Georgia and the Falklands, I was lucky enough to witness the lives of a range of penguins. So, I ask you, could you choose a favourite penguin from these little darlings?
Gentoo penguin - Observing an individual gentoo is an experience like no other. I was hypnotised and watched these penguins for as long as I could as they went about their daily life. Cute now has a whole new meaning to me since seeing these little gentoos run up and down their penguin highways in a clumsy attempt to get to their next destination.
Adelie penguin - They’re the classic black and white penguin. Like the gentoos they love scooting along their highways. I found myself overwhelmed by the lives of these penguins as I sat in the middle of their colony. They’re a very busy penguin, always doing something. Whether diving off icebergs, launching themselves like torpedos onto glaciers, sliding down hills, falling over rocks, feeding their chicks, or zipping around the ocean at an incredible pace.
Chinstrap penguin - The chinstrap is an allusive penguin. It’s pretty obvious where they got their name - the thin black strap around their chin. I must have around twenty thousand photographs of penguins and the chinstrap is the only one that I could never seem to capture alone in one picture.
King penguin - South Georgia is the land of kings. They’re an elegant bird standing just shorter than their better-known cousin the emperor. The beautiful yellow and orange collars on this penguin are, for me, what makes them so stunning.
Rockhopper penguin - true to their name, I often saw these penguins hopping up and down rocks. They have a tough job, hopping out of the ocean and up cliffs to get home. The chicks themselves can look almost as large as their parents and definitely just as chubby.
Macaroni penguin - With those unique yellow feathers on their heads they really stand out. What’s more, is their chunky red beak that is so different to the other penguins. Although the macaroni penguins are said to be incredibly abundant I thought they were quite difficult to find as they usually hang out in hard to get to areas.
Magellanic penguin - A simple black and white bird that I saw hanging out on the grass of the Falkland Islands. Most of the penguins I saw were hiding in borrows away from the wind, but I was lucky enough to spot this one out in the open in the sunshine.
Although I wasn’t lucky enough to spot the famous emperor penguin on this trip, it’s just another reason to go back. I hope you now understand my dilemma in choosing a favourite penguin? It’s just not possible to pick one.