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Blog articles on fun facts and interesting information written by our penguin experts.

Low Antarctic Sea Ice leads to Emperor Penguin Breeding Failure

A new study published in Communications Earth & Environment, shows that emperor penguin breeding colonies may have failed due to loss of sea ice at the breeding sites. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey examined sea ice loss “using [the European Commission’s Copernicus] Sentinel2 satellite imagery. Of the five breeding sites in the region all but one experienced total breeding failure after sea ice break-up before the start” of the 2022 breeding season fledgling period. (1)

Data courtesy of National Snow and Ice Data Centre, Boulder, CO.

Emperor penguins rely on stable sea ice that is land-fast, or firmly attached to shore from April through January. Penguins lay eggs in Antarctic winter (May to June) at their selected breeding location. After 65 days, eggs hatch, but chicks “do not fledge until summer, between December and January.”  Satellite images show that in the central and eastern Bellingshausen Sea region, “west of the Antarctic peninsula … there was a 100% loss of sea ice in November 2022.”  According to the study’s author, Dr. Peter Fretwell, he has “never seen emperor penguins fail to breed, at this scale, in a single season.” (2)

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to list the emperor penguin as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As of October 2022, emperor penguins are now listed as threatened. According to the USFWS, “the impact of climate change on sea-ice habitat … is the primary threat to the penguin.” Data shows that by “2050 their global population size will likely decrease by 26 to 47 percent under low and high carbon emissions scenarios.” (3)

In the past, emperor penguins moved to more stable sites after encountering sea ice loss in previous habitats. If sea ice continues to decline, emperor penguins will not be able to find stable land for breeding. “Climate change is the only major factor influencing their long-term population change,” unlike other populations that face threats from predators. (USFWS). Scientists believe that “if current global warming trends “ continue, the sea ice in Antarctica “will decline at a rate that would dramatically” decrease emperor penguin populations to “the point that almost all colonies would become quasi-extinct by 2100, with little chance of recovering.” (4)

  1. Fretwell, Peter T., Aude Boutet, and Norman Ratcliffe. 2023. “Record Low 2022 Antarctic Sea Ice Led to Catastrophic Breeding Failure of Emperor Penguins.” Communications Earth & Environment 4 (1): 1–6. (Accessed 10 October 2023).
  2. British Antarctic Survey. “Loss of Antarctic sea ice causes catastrophic breeding failure for emperor penguins.” ScienceDaily. (accessed October 25, 2023).
  3.  Public Affairs HQ. 5 October 2022. “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Provides Endangered Species Act Protections for Emperor Penguin.” US Fish and Wildlife Service.,%2DES%2D2021%2D0043. (Accessed 10 October 2023).
  4.  Jenouvrier, Stephanie. 3 August 2021. “98% of emperor penguin colonies could be extinct by 2100 as ice melts.” The Conversation. (Accessed 23 October 2023).

Elizabeth Freed has worked as a journalist, editor, and educator. She has written STEM curricula for a pilot STEM school in Aurora, Illinois and has been teaching gifted students for the past 12 years. Freed shares her love of science  by inviting scientists to her classroom so students can experience real world concepts.

Avian Flu Threatens Penguin Colonies in Antarctic

Photo credit: Esa Alexander/Reuters

Scientists are scrambling to prevent a possible outbreak of a deadly and highly contagious form of the Avian flu, which is a viral infection found in domestic poultry and wild birds. According to a new report, published by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on September 26, 2023, “there is a high risk that Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI H5N1) will arrive in the Southern Ocean during the 2023/2024 austral summer.”

African Penguin

H5N1 arrived in South America in 2022, specifically in Peru and Chile which reported “more than 500,000 dead seabirds and 25,000 dead sea lions” according to OFFLU, a global network of flu experts. In addition, over 900 Humboldt penguin deaths have been reported in Chile. The disease is spread among wild bird migratory paths and transmitted “via the fecal-oral route and through environmental contamination” such as water.

Dr. Ralph Vanstreels, a researcher at the University of California wildlife health program for Latin America shared that “the distinctive emperor penguin … crowd[s] together in large colonies” which is “a recipe for disaster” for a highly contagious viral infection. He anticipates a high death toll if the virus goes unchecked. In addition, Dr. Meagan Dewar, Chair of the Antarctic Wildlife Health Network (AWHN), warns of a devastating impact on “many wildlife species in the region [that will] … lead to catastrophic breeding failure and mortality events.”  Currently, “there have been no identified cases of HPAI in Antarctic wildlife” however, the Antarctic Peninsula is at high risk of the virus. 

According to COMNAP, the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, a series of protocols have been instituted to prevent cross-contamination. Although migratory habits of birds cannot be stopped, COMNAP advises preventing the “intra-continental spread of the virus by human activity.” The purpose of COMNAP is to “develop and promote best practice in managing the support of scientific research in Antarctica.”

The NSF and COMNAP are advising biosecurity protocols including not to visit seabird colonies or come into contact with concentrations of birds prior to departing for Antarctica. Prelanding/pre-entry surveillance is a requirement prior to entering a wildlife colony. In addition boots and equipment should be decontaminated before and after any colony visit or between colony visits.

Dewar advised, “With enhanced surveillance and monitoring, the AWHN hopes to measure HPAI impact on Antarctic wildlife health this season and next.” 


Elizabeth Freed is a writer and researcher for over 20 years and is an Illinois Arts Council Fellow winner. She has taught STEM in middle schools since 2007 and invited scientists to share their research with her classes.

  1. Updated Guidance on the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – Environmental Update for USAP Personnel. 26 September 2023.  (Accessed 11 October 2023)
  2.  Anthes, Emily. Bird Flu Raced Through South America. Antarctica Could Be Next. New York Times. 31 August, 2023. (Accessed 11 October 2023).
  3.  Updated Guidance on the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – Environmental Update for USAP Personnel. 26 September 2023.  (Accessed 11 October 2023)
  4.  Anthes, Emily. Bird Flu Raced Through South America. Antarctica Could Be Next. New York Times. 31 August, 2023. 
  5.  Grabow, Johanna. Antarctic Wildlife at Heightened Risk of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreaks. Antarctic Wildlife Neath Network (AWHN). 13 September 2023. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. (accessed 11  October 2023).
  6.  COMNAP. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Preparedness, Monitoring and Response. 1 September 2023. The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs. (Accessed 11 October 2023).
  7.  Updated Guidance on the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – Environmental Update for USAP Personnel. 26 September 2023.  (Accessed 11 October 2023)
  8.  Grabow, Johanna. Antarctic Wildlife at Heightened Risk of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Outbreaks. Antarctic Wildlife Neath Network (AWHN). 13 September 2023. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. (accessed 11  October 2023). 


Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation calls for drastic measures or African Penguins on track for extinction

African Penguin nest box

To encourage conservation and public awareness of the plight of African penguins, Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation’s #Not on Our Watch campaign is planning a Worldwide Waddle on October 14, 2023. This is also International Penguin Awareness Day. The plight of these penguins is at risk of extinction without public support.

By 2035, African penguins won’t retain enough breeding pairs for the species to survive in the wild. A scientific report warns of the current rate of decline of over 500 breeding pairs of African penguins living in Namibia and South Africa.   Numbers of these birds have plummeted from over one million in the early 1900s to less than 20,000 today, with the downward trend continuing. Even though the South African government has continued fishing closures around some African penguin colonies, “it’s far from enough to make a significant impact and stop the plunge toward extinction,” (Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation). Even with the closures, there is a shortage of small fish for the penguins to eat.

According to Dr. Judy Mann, Executive of Strategic Projects at Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, one of the biggest challenges is food availability. “With fish stocks collapsing and fewer sardines available, African penguins are struggling to get enough food,” said Mann. “Colony management, habitat for breeding, disease, predation by seals and gulls and the impact of storms and flooding are adding challenges for the African penguins.”

The African penguins are labeled as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on its Red List of Threatened Species. The goal of Two Oceans Not on Our Watch Campaign (NOOW) is to raise “worldwide public awareness about the plight of African penguins” to encourage the government to enact stricter policies and laws that will ensure this species continues to exist in the wild and to support the conservation community. (Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation)

Mann believes that if “fisheries, the South African government, oil, and shipping companies, management agencies, scientists, conservationists, international allies and the public work together, we can stop African penguin numbers from declining every year.” The #NOOW campaign is asking penguin-lovers to email South Africa’s Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment with encouragement letters in support of African penguins. Go to to hit a button and send the letter and to find out more about the waddles.

In addition, join a Free Virtual Celebration Tuesday October 10, 2023 at 9:30 AM MST to  hear from Dr. Susana Cárdenas-Alayza on Humboldt Penguins and Dr. Judy Mann-Lang on African Penguins on Facebook LIVE:

And, join Penguins International for a Free In-Person ‘Waddle and Wine’ Celebration Friday October 13, 2023  at 4:00 PM MST at 5171 Eldorado Springs Dr. Suite N Boulder CO 80303 and wear your best Black and White outfit for a prize! Limited to the first 40 people, Register here:


Bonorchis,  R. and Wares, H. (2023, August 8) African penguins on track for extinction if extra measures aren’t taken: A call to action. Two Oceans Aquarium. Retrieved from

Jenkins, Andrew (2023, July 23) As African Penguins teeter on the brink of extinction, Boulders could be a vital education. Daily Maverick.  Retrieved from

Borboroglu Wins Indianapolis Prize

Borboroglu Wins Indianapolis Prize

Photo Credit: National Geographic LA

Dr. Pablo Borboroglu was recently named the 2023 winner of the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s top animal conservation award. Borboroglu is the co-founder of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Penguin Specialist Group and founder and president of the Global Penguin Society headquartered in Argentina. He is also a marine biologist who has spent more than three decades “studying penguins and leading conservation efforts across four continents” (“Protector of Penguins,” 2023).

Photo Credit: Global Penguin Society

In an interview with Mongabay, a conservation news web portal, Borboroglu stated he felt  “… so honored and grateful for this recognition. As a conservationist, you often work alone. You are isolated in your country, sometimes facing big interests from the private sector or politicians … and sometimes you feel like it’s just you and your team working against all those interests. When you receive this award, it’s like a validation that what you do is important. It’s a way to legitimize everything we’ve been doing and recognize the effort we’ve made” (Alberts 2023).

Borboroglu is the ninth winner of the Indianapolis Prize,  awarded by the Indianapolis Zoological Society (IZS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. The prize recognizes conservationists who have made significant progress in saving an animal species, or multiple species, from extinction, according to the IZS. Borboroglu will receive $250,000 which is “the largest monetary award in the world that supports conservationists” (“Protector of Penguins,” 2023)  and will be celebrated at the Indianapolis Prize gala September 30, 2023, in Indianapolis. He is the first recipient of the award from South America.

A Change in the Winds: El Niño and Penguins

Photograph of a beach with the sun about to set. In the horizon of the photo, you can just barely see a few penguins on the beach.

A Change in the Winds:
El Niño and Penguins

By Abigail Pietrow, Penguin Keeper

El Niño events are a naturally occurring climate phenomenon in Earth’s southern oceans. But, in the past, particularly strong El Niño events have spelled disaster for penguin colonies in the Southern Pacific. So, let’s take a look at what happens during these events and how they affect penguins.

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Events

Upwelling currents off the western coastline of South America are driven by strong winds blowing westward from the continent. These winds drive a surface current flowing westward out towards the center of the Pacific Ocean. In turn, this current pulls cold, nutrient-rich water from deep in the ocean to the surface along this coastline. This cold water supports huge fish populations through the growth of phytoplankton when it interacts with sunlight at the surface, and these fish populations are important in supporting local fishermen and thriving populations of marine predators like seabirds and mammals!

Graphic of El Nino and La Nina surface temperature anomalies
Sea Surface Temperatures and Pressure Zones during El Niño, top (a), and La Niña, bottom (b).
Courtesy of NOAA

ENSO events represent a fluctuation in these winds. Think of a swing: it moves through a repetitive path from one side to the other reaching a peak at either end. Relating that to ENSO, El Niño represents one extreme and La Niña the other. In El Niño years, the westward-blowing winds are weaker than normal. This results in warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures and a reduction in upwelling along the coastline. During these events, fish populations often decline dramatically along the South American coastline, as there is less food available to support them. This causes challenges and competition between wildlife and fishermen for the remaining populations. 

Photograph of Magellanic Penguins by the water with glaciers in the background
Photo Credit: Jessica Caton Diefenbach

In La Niña years, the wind patterns swing in the opposite direction, and an even stronger upwelling effect is produced. This leads to larger than normal fish populations and very productive years for fishermen and wildlife in South America.

In Spanish “ El Niño” translates to “the boy,” and is a name given to this phenomenon by Peruvian fishermen in the 1800s. The name refers to the arrival of the warm surface waters off the western coast of South America in December, often around Christmastime. 

The Events of 1982-83 and 1997-98

Although El Niño events naturally occur every 2-7years, they’re not always consistent in the strength of their effect on ocean currents and conditions. In particular, the El Niño events of 1982-83 and 1997-98 resulted in some of the strongest recorded ENSO effects in modern history. These weather events had destructive effects on penguin populations.

At the beginning of 1982, the population of Humboldt penguins in Peru was estimated to be between 6000-8000 individuals and struggling to recover after historical exploitation of guano and poaching of adults and chicks. The strong 1982-83 El Niño event and the resulting lack of food contributed to mass mortality of Humboldt penguins and widespread breeding failure during those years. Scientists recorded a population decline of 65% during this single event, leaving only 2100-3000 surviving adults in the Peruvian population as birds either died or dispersed elsewhere in an attempt to find food.

Likewise, the Galapagos penguin, one of the most endangered penguin species globally, is detrimentally affected in many of the same ways. Though they live in the equatorial Galapagos, they rely just as heavily on upwelling currents in that area to support fish populations. The El Niño of 1982-83 led to a recorded population decline of 77% and the El Niño of 1997-98 resulted in a decline of 65%. Even after 6 years of recovery in 2004, the total population was estimated to only be 50% of what it was pre-1982.

El Niño Today

When we talk about the widespread effects of a changing climate on penguins, it reaches much further than glaciers melting in Antarctica. As global climate change progresses, it is difficult for scientists to predict how this will affect the strength and frequency of El Niño events, but many agree that increases in one or both of those factors are likely.  Either stronger or more frequent events, as some have predicted, could have devastating impacts on the populations of several already threatened or endangered penguin species in South America, especially as competition with humans for limited food sources continue.

© Abigail Pietrow 2021

Abigail Pietrow is a penguin keeper at the Aquarium of Niagara, and works extensively with Humboldt Penguins. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily represent those of the Aquarium of Niagara.

It’s wild how natural phenomena are so interconnected with wildlife. Did you know that wind patterns could affect penguin populations? Help us to learn more and protect wild penguins through research and education by donating to Penguins International!

Read more about penguins in some of our other blogs:

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Chile’s Humboldt penguins under threat of extinction (2013, April 28) retrieved 01 January 2021 from 

El Niño. (n.d.) Retrieved January 01, 2021, from

Hays, Coppelia. (1986) Effects of the 1982-82 El Niño on Humboldt Penguin Colonies in Peru. Biological Conservation 36: 169-180.

Vargas, F. Hernán, S. Harrison, S. Rea, D. W. Macdonald. (2006) Biological effects of El Niño on the Galápagos penguin. Biological Conservation 127: 107-114

What is El Niño? (n.d.) Retrieved January 01, 2021, from

World Penguin Day: Penguin Conservation Status

Gentoo Penguin at the shore with text above the penguin saying "It's World Penguin Day! Pass it on".

World Penguin Day: Penguin Conservation Status

By Abigail Pietrow, Penguin Keeper

April 25th is World Penguin Day! As we celebrate these wonderful and fascinating flightless birds on this day, let’s check in with how the 18 different species are doing.

Conservation status for each species is noted in terms of its International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List designation.

Image of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List designation.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List designation. Photo credit:
Photograph of an Adelie Penguin looking at the camera.
Photo Credit: Jessica Caton Diefenbach

Adelie Penguin

The Adelie Penguin is listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. Their populations were feared to be decreasing until a previously unknown “supercolony” consisting of an estimated 1.5 million individuals was discovered on remote Antarctic islands in 2018. Surprisingly, these birds were located in part due to the discovery of huge guano stains on NASA satellite imagery.

African Penguin

The IUCN Red List considers the African Penguin to be in the “Endangered” category. Populations have declined by almost 65% since 1989 due to a number of different threats like oil spills and overfishing of food sources by humans. Small victories have been noted in recent years, such as the designation of Robben Island, historically an important breeding island for the species, as a protected marine site in 2019. Organizations like the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) work tirelessly to help the survival of this species.

Chinstrap Penguin

Chinstrap Penguins are currently listed as “Least Concern.” New research published in 2020 reported the results of one of the first censuses of Chinstrap colonies since the 1970s. They reported decreases of up to 50% at some of the colony sites studied. As with other penguin species, increased monitoring of populations could be very useful in helping scientists paint a more accurate picture of how these species are coping with various challenges in their environment.

Photograph of Chinstrap Penguin looking at the camera.
Photo Credit: Jessica Caton Diefenbach
Photograph of Emperor Penguins walking on sea ice.
Source: Penguins International
Photo Library

Emperor Penguin

Perhaps the most well known of all penguin species, the Emperor Penguin is designated as “Near Threatened.” Currently, the population trend of this species is fairly stable, but their reproductive strategy and natural history is linked to the seasonal sea ice of Antarctica. Predictive modeling suggests that over the course of the next century, climate change will effect the formation of Antarctic sea ice enough to significantly imperil this species.

Erect-Crested Penguin

This little-known species breeds on only two groups of islands off of the coast of New Zealand, is possibly one of the least-studied penguins species in the world, and is listed as “Endangered.” Studies conducted indicate rapid decline over the last 50 years but surveys have been limited to only portions of the island groups and may not be wholly reliable estimates.

Fiordland Penguin

Also known as “Tawaki” (in Māori) in their native range of New Zealand, the Fiordland penguin is considered “Near Threatened.” When these penguins are not nesting in tangled rainforest, they complete massive migrations of up to 7,000km to search for food prior to the molting season.

Galapagos Penguin

The smallest of the Banded Penguins and the northernmost of all penguin species, the Galapagos Penguin is designated as “Endangered.” El Niño events have severely affected populations of this penguin over the last 50 years.  Predictive modeling of El Niño patterns has described a 30% chance of extinction for this species within the next century.

Gentoo Penguin

The Gentoo Penguin is noted as “Least Concern.” These plucky birds may actually be the penguin “winners” of climate change – as their Sub-Antarctic populations have stabilized in recent years, their Antarctic populations are seeing massive increases. Recent genetic and physical evidence has been uncovered suggesting that the Gentoo Penguin, while currently split into two subspecies, would be more accurately described as four separate species! It’s up to the scientific community now to analyze the merits of this assessment.

Photograph of two Gentoo Penguins, both penguins are facing to the side of the camera.
Photo Credit: Jessica Caton Diefenbach

Humboldt Penguin

Classified as “Vulnerable,” surveys of Humboldt Penguin populations over the last several decades have revealed considerable uncertainty in past population estimates. However, we do know that this species is heavily affected by El Niño events, which massively decrease available food and cause widespread mortality and breeding failure.

Photograph of two King Penguins on the grass. One penguin is facing the camera and the other is to the side.
Source: Penguins International Photo Library

King Penguin

The King Penguin is the second-largest species behind its cousin, the Emperor Penguin. King Penguins are listed as “Least Concern,” but fairly recent studies have showed wildly different population trends in different parts of their range. According to a 2018 study on South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic, King Penguins have seen a remarkable recovery over the last century after severe historical exploitation for their oil. In the same year, another study was published detailing an 88% decline in the population of this species at a colony in the Crozet Islands.

Little Penguin

The smallest species of penguin is designated as “Least Concern” as populations are stable in most locations. However, these tiny birds remain highly vulnerable to human threats such as coastal development, death by domestic pets, invasive and introduced species, and human disturbance at nesting colonies. Sites without active protection have declined severely over time.

Macaroni Penguin

Macaroni Penguins are classified as “Vulnerable.” Though some local populations are stable, overall global populations are steadily decreasing. Macaroni Penguins are an incredible example of these flightless seabirds inhabiting some pretty extreme environments as one breeding island is actually the summit of an underwater volcano and has erupted multiple times since the 1990s!

Photograph of two Magellanic Penguins in their burrow.
Source: Penguins International
Photo Library

Magellanic Penguin

The Magellanic Penguin is listed as “Least Concern,” populations trends are varied across their range. Penguin populations continue to keep scientists on their toes; in 2020 a previously unknown colony of Magellanic Penguins was discovered, hidden among a nesting colony of Rockhopper Penguins that was being surveyed.

Northern Rockhopper Penguin

The Northern Rockhopper, found on Sub-Antarctic Islands off the southern coastline of Africa is considered “Endangered.” The splitting of the Rockhoppers into two distinct species is a fairly recent occurrence, with evidence presented by Jouventin et al. in 2006. The Northern Rockhopper remains the less studied of the two species, though human exploitation likely played a part in historical declines and current declines continue in present day populations.

Royal Penguin

The Royal Penguin is “Near Threatened,” and is only found in one population around Macquarie Island south of New Zealand. The population seems to have recovered from historical exploitation though the last substantial survey of the species occurred in 1985.

Snares Penguin

The Snares Penguin is listed as “Vulnerable” due to its inhabitation of only a single group of islands south of New Zealand, the Snares Islands. While the population of the Snares Penguin is currently stable, with the entire population condensed in such a small area the species vulnerable to be widely effected by a single catastrophic event.

Photo of two Snares Penguins rubbing their bills together.
Photo from Macaulay Library

Southern Rockhopper Penguin

Southern Rockhopper Penguins encompass two subspecies, and together are considered “Vulnerable.” While there is evidence that populations are reproducing at high enough rates to stabilize themselves, several mass mortality events in recent decades, most lately in 2016, have continued to damage populations and delay recovery of the species. These mortality events, while still not fully understood, are thought to be linked to food shortages that accompany fluctuations in sea surface temperature.

Photograph of Yellow-eyed Penguin in tall grass.
Source: Penguins International
Photo Library

Yellow-eyed Penguin

The Yellow-Eyed Penguin is the only extant species in its genus, and it designated as “Endangered.” Known in the Māori language as the “Hoiho,” the Yellow-eyed Penguin is native to the coasts and coastal island of southern New Zealand. Today is it one of the rarest penguins in the world with an estimated population of less than 3,000 mature individuals. Total declines in this species over the past 30 years estimated are to be between 50-75%. Organizations dedicated to their recovery, like the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, work closely to conserve and study this unique species, and restore suitable habitat for them throughout their range.

If you are curious to learn more about each of these penguin species, visit our penguin species page or click on the name of the penguin species listed above.

Check out our blog to learn about what actions you can take to preserve these iconic species! Consider donating to Penguins International to support our education and conservation efforts.

Read more about penguins in some of our other blogs:

© Abigail Pietrow 2021

Abigail Pietrow is a penguin keeper at the Aquarium of Niagara, and works extensively with Humboldt Penguins. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily represent those of the Aquarium of Niagara.


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Mattern T, Pütz K, Garcia-Borboroglu P, Ellenberg U, Houston DM, et al. (2018) Marathon penguins – Reasons and consequences of long-range dispersal in Fiordland penguins / Tawaki during the pre-moult period. PLOS ONE 13(8): e0198688.

Morgenthaler, A., E. Frere, A. Raya Rey, C. Torlaschi, P. Cedrola, E. Tiberi, R. Lopez, E. Mendieta, M. L. Carranza, S. Acardi, N. Collm, P. Gandini, A. Millones. (2018) Unusual number of Southern Rockhopper Penguins, Eudyptes chrysocome, molting and dying along the Southern Patagonian coast of Argentina: pre-molting dispersion event related to adverse oceanographic conditions? Polar Biology 41(5): 1041-1047.

Philip N. Trathan, B. Wienecke, C. Barbraud, S.Jenouvrier, G. Kooyman, C. Le Bohec, D.G. Ainley, A. Ancel, D.P. Zitterbart, S. L. Chown, M. LaRue, R. Cristofari, J. Younger, G. Clucas, C-A Bost, J. A. Brown, H. J. Gillett, P. T. Fretwell. (2020) The emperor penguin – Vulnerable to projected rates of warming and sea ice loss.

Biological Conservation 241: 108216

Previously unknown ‘supercolony’ of 1.5 million penguins discovered in Antarctica. (2018, March 02). Retrieved January 08, 2021, from

Sherley, RB,  Crawford, RJM,  de Blocq, AD, et al.  The conservation status and population decline of the African penguin deconstructed in space and timeEcol Evol.  2020108506– 8516

University of Bath. “Gentoo penguins are four species, not one, say scientists.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2020.

Vargas, F.H., Lacy, R.C., Johnson, P.J., Steinfurth, A., Crawford, R.J.M., Boersma, P.D. and Macdonald, D.W. 2007. Modelling the effects of El Niño on the persistence of small populations: the Galápagos Penguin as a case study. Biological Conservation 137(1): 138-148.

Weimerskirch, H., Le Bouard, F., Ryan, P., & Bost, C. (2018). Massive decline of the world’s largest king penguin colony at Ile aux Cochons, Crozet. Antarctic Science 30(4): 236-242. Doi:10.1017/S0954102018000226

The Penguin Glow: Penguins Teach Us about Hope and Resilience

Magellanic Penguins by Charles Bergman

The Penguin Glow: Penguins Teach Us about Hope and Resilience

By Charles Bergman, author of Every Penguin in the World: A Quest to See Them All

My wife, Susan Mann, and I were sitting on a chunk of ice on the shore of Neko Harbor on the Antarctic Peninsula. A light snow was falling. We had stopped here to watch a Gentoo Penguin sitting on an egg in its nest of pebbles.

The penguin rose to its feet. Its bright orange beak pointed to a small hole in the egg. We could see the tip of the chick’s beak. A penguin was hatching.

It seemed almost miraculous. In this harsh climate—one of the most unforgiving places on earth—we watched as this tiny chick emerged from the egg.

For seventeen years, my wife Susan and I traveled throughout the Southern Hemisphere on a quest to see all eighteen of the world’s species of penguins in the wild. Our journeys took us to some of the wildest and most remote places on the planet. This was one of the most memorable moments in our quest because it embodied something at the heart of the appeal penguins have for us.

Penguins offer living lessons in hope and resilience.

Gentoo Penguin with chick hatching by Charles Bergman
Gentoo Penguin with its chick hatching from an egg
Photo credit: Charles Bergman

We find ourselves slouching into a new year. Weary, worried, and burdened, we are living through a dark time of an out-of-control virus, the violence in our presidential election, and a planet careening toward disaster. Penguins are one of the best antidotes to despair that I know.

The most beloved birds in the world, penguins can help provide hope and relieve the gloom in three ways: through an intimate connection to wild animals, the transformative power of awe and wonder, and the healing effects of laughter.

Magellanic Penguins by Charles Bergman
Magellanic Penguins gathering together at dusk at El Pedral Reserve, Punta Ninfas, Argentina.
Photo credit: Charles Bergman

Lesson 1: An Intimate Connection to Wild Animals

One of my favorite places on the Antarctic Peninsula is Port Lockroy. Founded as a British research station, it now also has a gift shop and post office. You can mail post-cards from here that will travel through the United Kingdom and on to your friends and family, bearing an Antarctic postmark. Research on the Gentoo Penguins is on-going and long-term.

Penguins are everywhere. Several are nesting under the porch. Some are standing on the porch. You will encounter them on the path. The penguins always have the right of way.

The last time I was at Port Lockroy, three pairs of penguins were nesting on a large rock near the entrance to the building. They were right next to the path and at eye level on the rock.

Each nest had two chicks. It was a great place to linger and watch the penguins interact with their chicks. It was an intimate encounter, a chance to linger and enter into their world.

Gentoo Penguin with its chicks at Port Lockroy, Antarctica. Photo by Charles Bergman
Gentoo Penguin with its chicks at Port Lockroy, Antarctica.
Photo credit: Charles Bergman

A central element of the charm of penguins in Antarctica was on full display. They offer a wildlife experience like no other in the world. The penguins do not flee from you. You can sit beside nesting penguins—even with chicks—and they don’t scramble away. They are gloriously unafraid of people. In fact, you may encounter a penguin that will waddle right up to you, look you in the eye, its head tilting and its eyes unblinking, trying to figure you out.

I have had penguins hop onto my boots as I was photographing. As I lay on the ground to take a photo, one penguin nipped at my pants and my jacket. I have had penguins come right up to the camera and peer at me through the lens.

Emperor Penguin chicks at Snow Hill, Antarctica.
Photo credit: Charles Bergman

Plus, with penguins, the cute factor is off the charts. At Port Lockroy, the parents and the chicks were incredibly cute. The chicks had huge stomachs, tiny wings, and sweet faces. The tender solicitations of the parents were intimate and moving.

The encounters are magical, moving, and unforgettable. They will remind you of the restorative power of contact with wild animals. They’re models of resilience.

Lesson 2: The Necessity of Awe and Wonder

Antarctica is a continent of wonders, at once humbling in its vastness and daunting in its ferocious beauty.

On one memorable trip to the peninsula, we anchored next to “Iceberg Alley.” It’s a kind of backwater where icebergs have run aground and are stranded. Small groups of Adélie Penguins often rest on these icebergs.

We got into Zodiacs, the inflatable boats that take us to shore or, as in this case, enable us to wander among the arrested icebergs. Wind and sun have carved the icebergs into a fantasy-land of dreamy shapes.

You may think of Antarctica as a white continent. But the ice often glows, as the icebergs here did, in exquisite shades of blue. The whole scene stretches your mind and lights up your imagination.

In the midst of this strange world of sculpted ice, we were astonished to discover four humpback whales feeding on krill. We spent an hour with them. They often came up near us. They were much bigger than the Zodiacs. Each one weighed about 25 tons.

Chinstrap Penguin with chicks. Photo by Charles Bergman
Chinstrap Penguin with chicks at Hydrurga Rocks, Antarctica.
Photo credit: Charles Bergman

The scope and scale of the world in Antarctica is staggering. Antarctica and its wildlife will make you feel small. It’s similar to the feeling you get with penguins. Their tender intimacies contrast dramatically with the vast immensity and the unforgiving harshness of the surrounding landscapes.

They will leave you with a sense of awakened wonder and awe. I find these moments in Antarctica humbling, in a deeply ethical and transformative way. You may feel small, but you do not feel insignificant.

As one of the great heroes of Antarctic exploration, Ernest Shackleton, put it, “You feel bigger in the bigness of the whole.”  

Lesson 3: The Healing Power of Laughter

It’s almost impossible to feel miserable in the company of penguins. Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps even defeated and near despair. Penguins are invaluable as diversion and consolation. They will almost certainly make you laugh. They put a smile on your face.

A line of penguins parades past you, with their characteristic and comical waddle, so serious, so purposeful, so pretentious even. Then one will slip on the ice and do a faceplant in the snow. Or one suddenly slaps a neighbor with its flipper, and they break into a screaming chase.

Pride and a pratfall. Slapstick on ice.

You can’t help but laugh. They are the beloved clowns at the bottom of the world.

One time I was photographing a colony of Gentoo Penguins, all faced to the sea, looking in the direction of the setting sun. As a spectacular sunset began to fill the sky, I walked around behind them. I wanted a photo of penguins watching the sunset.

Gentoo Penguins at sunset in the Falkland Islands.
Photo credit: Charles Bergman

I busied myself with my tripod and camera, getting ready for the shot. Then I looked up again. I had to laugh out loud. All of the penguins had turned around. They were now facing me. I found myself wondering, who exactly is watching whom?

As I photographed them watching me, I had a smile on my face the whole time.

A connection with animals, a sense of wonder and awe, and a comic charm—the feeling you get in the company of penguins is unlike that of any other creature. My wife and I have a name for this unique penguin feeling, which is both healing and hopeful. We call it the penguin glow.

Our darkened world needs more of the penguin glow right now.

Charles Bergman is author of Every Penguin in the World: A Quest to See Them All
He can be contacted at
bergman [at]

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Picking the perfect penguin partner

Northern Rockhopper Penguins

Picking the Perfect Penguin Partner, AKA Using “The Studbook”

By Lorna Moffat, Penguin Keeper

Zoos use a studbook to keep track of penguin lineage

What does a male or female penguin look for in a mate? Is it being gifted the perfect pebble? Winning the desired nest spot? Sporting a thickest bonnet or longer crest than the average male? There is a lot to consider and picking the perfect penguin partner is vital to producing the strongest offspring.
Gentoo pair ecstatic calls
Gentoo penguins
Northern Rockhopper Penguins
Image 1: Bonded Gentoo Penguin pair ecstatic displaying (trumpeting), Image 2: Nesting Gentoo Penguin, Image 3: Northern Rockhopper pair sitting on egg
Photo credit: Lorna Moffat

First, a little background information on Gentoo Penguins

Classed as “Least Concern” under the IUCN Red List 3, Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) face many threats in the wild including over-fishing, plastic pollution, and rising sea temperatures. With an estimated 390,000 wild breeding pairs, distributed along Crozet Island, Falkland Island and South Georgia 3, all chicks that hatch are crucial to future generations. Conservation efforts are ongoing to not only protect penguins, but the ecosystem as a whole: i.e. Falkands Conservation analyse breeding success annually via population counts, maintain nesting sites and good relationships with local fisheries 5.

Gentoo Penguin colony
Image 4: A Gentoo Penguin breeding colony on Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands
Photo credit: Lorna Moffat

Breeding management in captive populations = Studbooks

With wild breeding success fluctuating each year, zoos and aquariums work hard to maintain global captive populations through breeding programmes to sustain genetic diversity as well as providing them with high standards of husbandry with regards to veterinary care, enclosure design and nutritional requirements.

Gentoo Penguin with two chicks
Image 5: Colin and his two chicks at EZ – each chick being identified by a coloured “scooby” band
Photo credit: Lorna Moffat

Most zoos and aquariums are members of an accredited regional organisation such as EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria), ZAA (Zoo and Aquarium Association) or AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquaria). Each association has established Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs) – groups which specialise in a group of animals such as penguins, birds, cats. One role of a TAG is to implement how each species is managed with regards to breeding – assessing the conservation status, global/captive population status and what species is housed where 4. Different regions have their own established breeding programmes: European Gentoo populations are managed as an ESB (European studbook) by RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, and as a Green SSP (Species Survival Plan) Programme by Sydney Aquarium (Australia) and San Diego SeaWorld (North America) 1. It is important that regional holders keep in close contact with each other in order to sustain captive populations.

Studbook keepers manage the studbooks

Studbook keepers are people with a specialised interest in and has worked (or working with) the species. However, it is not as simple as putting 20 males in with 20 females and breeding as many chicks as possible. Managing colonial species such as penguins is different to species like tigers: one male + one female = cubs. You cannot predict which birds will pair up together meaning that each colony should have the correct genetic diversity limiting chances of inbreeding between related birds. Studbooks are designed to be able to analyse these genetic demographics via databases such as ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) (previously via SPARKS) 4. Every bird entered into the database has their own record (an equivalent to a “Tinder” profile), holding information such as hatch date, location, sex, rearing type, taxonomy, local identity number, tags, chips and most importantly – parental lineage. All this information is pulled from their own animal record which is why ZIMS is a great platform as it holds all information (medical notes, husbandry notes, weights, pedigree line) on one database.

A studbook keeper’s main role is to maintain these records, as well as analyse the genetics of each colony and make recommendations to institutes (i.e. swapping 10 birds with another collection). With over 800 Gentoos from 37+ institutes being listed on the ESB on ZIMS, it is essential that all collections hold accurate animal records as this information could be crucial with where the bird is housed and with whom.

And then there are sub-species of penguins (likely to be classified as new species someday)

Another thing to consider are sub-species. Gentoos that breed farther south in colder temperatures are subtly morphologically different to Northern populations, meaning that there are two classified sub-species: the Southern species (Pygoscelis papua ellsworthi) that breed on the Peninsula (South Orkney/Nelson Island) and the larger, Northern (Falkland) species (Pygoscelis papua papua). These morphological differences are very subtle and may be down to varied oceanic conditions 5. Gentoos that have unknown wild lineage in captivity are classed as Pygoscelis papua. With these sub-species in mind, many collections have specific species – i.e. Loro Parque in Tenerife and SeaWorld in North America have the Falklands line, and The Deep in England have predominantly Ellsworthi line. This means that it is easier to keep captive lines pure with the knowledge of where their wild genes originated from and attempt to eliminate hybridisation. 

Penguin breeding success at Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland) has had great breeding success over the past 60 years with a current population of 96 gentoos being housed with 25 Northern Rockhopper (Eudyptes moseleyi) and 5 King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus). The zoo was also the first captive collection in the world to successfully breed the famous King Penguin. There are many factors aiding this breeding success: Established breeding protocols, high standards of husbandry as well as a team of dedicated keepers. By keeping in contact with institutions that hold the species, this means that teams can share methods and give out advice aiding in improved husbandry guidelines as well as higher chick survival rates.

Gentoo Penguin building its nest
Image 6: Gentoo Penguin nest-site at “Penguins Rock”, Edinburgh Zoo
Photo credit: Lorna Moffat

Edinburgh penguins are identified by coloured flipper-bands located on the left flipper for female, right for male (devised of coloured hama beads threaded onto cable ties) This means that during the breeding season accurate information such as sire, dam and clutch records can be kept which will then be entered onto ZIMS. It is vital to know who the sire and dam are of each chick, to prevent inbreeding, passing on of traits such as leucism breeding from birds that are over-represented in the colony as well as tracing genetic lineages.  

Gentoo Penguin in artificial nest
Image 7: Gentoo Penguin “Kevin” at EZ with gold flipper-band on right flipper as form of identity.
Photo credit: Lorna Moffat

The studbook: Essential to the survival of the various penguin species

Maintaining studbooks means that genetic lineages can be traced back to wild birds that were brought into captivity (100+ years ago) when it was legal practice to remove birds/eggs from the wild. Birds that have wild genes only a few generations up the line (i.e. grandparents) are desired individuals to breed from as their genes are more under-represented in than birds that have wild genes 8 generations up the line.

The IUCN issued a ‘Captive Breeding Policy’ in 1987 stating that all zoos holding wild animals should aim to achieve self-sustaining, genetically diverse populations – and today this is being carried out by zoos and aquariums; not just by breeding genetically viable offspring, but by educating visitors on the role of good zoos and how they are helping the species not just in captivity, but in the wild too.

Uncover more fascinating facts in some of our other blogs:

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  1. Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2019). Species Survival Plan (SSP) Programme. [Online]. Available at:
  2. Borboroglu, P.G. & Boersma, P.D. (2013). Penguins: Natural History and Conservation.
  3. Birdlife International. (2019). Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua). [Online]. Available at:
  4. EAZA (European Association of Zoo and Aquaria) (2019). Specialist programmes. [Online]. Available at:
  5. Falklands Conservation. (2019). Conservation Action. [Online]. Available at:

What do you call a group of penguins?

King Penguin Waddle

What do you call a group of penguins?

By Abigail Pietrow, Penguin Keeper

A “pride” of lions, a “pod” of dolphins, a “murder” of crows… There are plenty of different names for groups of animals. Some are familiar, like herds or packs, and some are wacky, like a “smack” of jellyfish or an “embarrassment” of pandas. These terms often have their roots in unusual or notable traits of the group they describe. Examples of this might include a “prickle” of porcupines or a “romp” of otters!

So, what in the world do we call a group of penguins?

It turns out the answer to that question depends on several different things, like age, location, and activity. A group of penguins is called many things. Let’s start with…

(1) A group of penguins is called a Waddle!

Everyone knows that penguins waddle. It’s one of their most endearing traits and is a result of their skeletal anatomy and hydrodynamic adaptations.

This is one of those group terms that come from a notable characteristic of the species. Specifically, it is often used to describe a group of penguins on land that are on the move!

(2) A group of penguins is called a Colony or a Rookery! 

Penguins are social birds, and during the breeding season and other times of the year they congregate on land in groups of hundreds or even thousands of individuals! These large breeding groups are referred to as a colony or rookery. Penguins show a high degree of site-fidelity and will typically return to the same location, and sometimes even the same nest site, year after year.

Rockhopper Penguin Colony
Source: Penguins International photo library

(3) A group of penguins is called a Crèche! 

A crèche is a group of chicks that band together for safety in numbers while their parents hunt. This term can also be defined as “a place where young children are cared for during the day while their parents do something else.” So, kind of like a penguin daycare!

Within breeding colonies, penguin parents are hard at work raising chicks. This requires sharing of guard duty while the other parent is feeding at sea to bring back food for the young ones. However, penguin chicks grow very quickly. After a certain point, usually around 4-5 weeks, the chicks are big enough that they no longer need the parent to help keep them warm and they require enough food that both parents need to be fishing more regularly to keep the chicks sufficiently fed. Chicks will group together for safety while their parents are at sea. These crèches are most often seen in surface-nesting species, as chicks of burrow-nesting species like the banded penguins and Little Blue penguin will usually remain in their own sheltered nest while waiting for their parents to return.

Gentoo Penguin chicks in a creche
Source: Penguins International photo library

(4) A group of penguins is called a Raft!

This term is used to describe a group of penguins in the water. Penguins eat an exclusively seafood diet, and so spend quite a large portion of their time at sea hunting. Penguins will not only dive to hunt for food in the ocean but will also spend periods of time floating at the surface to rest or preen their feathers. Such a group of floating birds is likely what inspired the descriptive term!

Abigail Pietrow is a penguin keeper at the Aquarium of Niagara, and works extensively with Humboldt Penguins. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily represent those of the Aquarium of Niagara.

Who knew there were so many different names for a group of these flightless birds? Which one did you find most interesting? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! Please help us continue to share more penguin stories by donating to Penguins International.

Uncover more fascinating facts in some of our other blogs:

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Borboroglu, P. G. & Boersma, P. D. (2013). Penguins: Natural history and conservation. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

CRÈCHE: Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (2020). Retrieved October 27, 2020, from

Mendoran, S. (2018, October 27). A Comprehensive List of Animal Group Names – Owlcation – Education. Retrieved October 20,2020, from

Penguins. (2020). Retrieved October 27, 2020, from

Can Penguins Smell?

Gentoo Penguin

Can Penguins Smell?

By Abigail Pietrow, Penguin Keeper

There are lots of common questions that I’m often asked as a Penguin Keeper at the Aquarium of Niagara:Can Penguins Breathe Underwater?”  “What do penguins eat?”Why are penguins black and white?” It sometimes seems like the curiosity directed towards our flightless feathered friends is endless, but is generally directed towards some common topics from day to day. I was surprised this past week by an uncommon question that came from two different individuals within the span of a couple of days: Can penguins smell? In order to answer that question I had to do a little digging, and what I found was pretty interesting!

What do seabirds smell?

Up until the mid-1900s it was widely assumed that birds did not have a sense of smell. This belief was based on the results of a few small studies, differences in nasal anatomy, and the fact that the olfactory bulb in most bird species (the organ in the brain responsible for the sense of smell) was much smaller than that of mammals when examined. More recently, scientists specifically studying this sense in birds have uncovered a very different truth – many birds have a well-developed sense of smell.

Tube-nosed seabirds in particular (Order Procellariiformes), like Albatrosses and Shearwaters, have highly developed olfactory systems. These systems are tuned to search out dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a very particular compound released when krill consume phytoplankton. Krill is an important food source for many seabirds, and following the scent trail of this compound can help these birds locate patches of food in the vast distances of the open ocean.

Consequences of DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) Sensitivity in Birds

Unfortunately, feasting krill are not the only source of DMS in our oceans today. Plastic and micro-plastic pollution in our oceans is an ever-increasing environmental issue. An analysis performed in 2015 extrapolated that if pre-existing plastic ingestion studies from 1962-2012 were conducted under current oceanic conditions, then the percentage of seabirds surveyed with plastic in their digestive system would likely be closer to 90% compared to the 29% from previous decades.

It has been theorized in the past that the basis for this phenomenon is primarily visual – that plastic is eaten when it is mistaken for prey species while foraging.

A study conducted in 2016 sought to investigate other explanations for why seabirds ingest so much plastic debris. They tested the three most common types of plastic found in marine debris and found that after only one month in the ocean, these samples were coated in a biological film that produced DMS at a level detectable by tube-nosed seabirds. Their results suggest that part of the reason seabirds are eating so much plastic is because it smells like food to them too!

Sense of Smell in Penguins

Tube-nosed seabirds are generally considered to be some of the closest living relatives to modern penguins. While these evolutionary relationships are still under investigation, penguins do share some of the same adaptations for smell as other seabirds. African Penguins have been shown to have a similar sensitivity to DMS, as well as being attracted by the scent of this compound both on land and at sea.

They posses a single nostril called a “nare” on either side of their beak, and while their olfactory bulbs are relatively small compared to other seabirds, the organ is still larger than many land-based bird species. This reduction in size is paired with a reduction in the amount of olfactory receptor genes in their DNA and likely a reduced sense of smell compared to other waterbirds. However, some scientists hypothesize that this reduction in reliance on smell correlates with evolution of other adaptations penguins developed to hunt effectively under the surface like spherical lenses and flattened corneas for improved underwater vision.

Sniffing out Friends and Family

Penguins may also use their sense of smell for another important task. While many have now studied how birds can use their sense of smell for important functions like navigation and foraging, one fascinating study looked at how Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) might use their sense of smell to recognize mates or family members.

The scientists used oil samples from the preen gland of penguins to test whether individuals reacted differently to the scent of unfamiliar penguins than they did to family or neighbors.  They found that the studied penguins preferentially investigated unfamiliar and non-kin smells when presented with a choice. This could have implications for how penguins avoid inbreeding when choosing a mate in their natal colony!

What action can you take?

While penguins seem to be less likely to ingest plastic at the same rate as other seabird species, ingestion is not the only risk that plastic pollution in our oceans poses. Plastic entanglement is an issue facing many marine species, penguins included.

African Penguin entangled in discarded plastic.
Source: Avery, 2018.

Reducing your use of single-use plastics is one of the most effective ways to reduce your plastic footprint and helps keep plastic out of the world’s landfills and oceans! Instead of single-use items, reusable alternatives can be a planet-friendly way to make a difference for wildlife!

© Abigail Pietrow 2020

Abigail Pietrow is a penguin keeper at the Aquarium of Niagara, and works extensively with Humboldt Penguins. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily represent those of the Aquarium of Niagara.

Did you know that penguins could smell? Let us know in the comments what you found most interesting! Please help us continue to learn more about penguins by donating to Penguins International.

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Coffin, H R, J V Watters, J M Mateo. 2011. Odor-based recognition of familiar and related conspecifics: a first test conducted on captive humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti). PLoS ONE 6(9): e25002. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025002

Dell’Ariccia, G., Phillips, R. A., Van Franeker, J. A., Gaidet, N., Catry, P., Granadeiro, J. P., … & Bonadonna, F. (2017). Comment on “Marine plastic debris emits a keystone infochemical for olfactory foraging seabirds” by Savoca et al. Science advances, 3(6), e1700526.

Lu, Q. et al. 2016. Penguins reduced olfactory receptor genes common to other waterbirds. Sci. Rep. 6, 31671; doi: 10.1038/srep31671

Nevitt, G A. 2008. Sensory ecology on the high seas: the odor world of the procellriiform seabirds. The Journal of Experimental Biology (211) 1706-1713. doi:10.1242/jeb.015412

Pinto, M. B., Siciliano, S., & Di Beneditto, A. P. M. (2007). Stomach contents of the Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus from the northern distribution limit on the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Marine Ornithology, 35, 77-78.

Ryan, P. G. (2018). Entanglement of birds in plastics and other synthetic materials. Marine pollution bulletin, 135, 159-164.

Savoca M, M E Wohlfeil, S E Ebeler, G A Nevitt. 2016. Marine plastic debris emits a keystone infochemical for olfactory foraging seabirds. Sci Adv 2 (11) e1600395. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600395

Watanabe M, et al. 2006. New candidate species most closely related to penguins. Gene (378) 65-73.

Wilcox C, E Van Sebille, B D Hardesty. 2015. Threat of pollution to seabirds is global, pervasive, and increasing. PNAS 112 (38) 11899-11904.

Wright, K L B, L Pichegru, P G Ryan. 2011. Penguin are attracted to dimethyl sulfide at sea. The Journal of Experimental Biology (214) 2509-2511. doi:10.1242/jeb.058230



Averett, N. (2014). Birds Can Smell, And One Scientist is Leading the Charge to Prove It. [online.] Audubon Magazine. Available from: [Accessed 07 October 2020].

Avery, M. (2018). Guy Shorrock – Plastic Perils and Penguins. [online]. WordPress. Available from: [Accessed 07 October 2020].