Skip to main content
Magellanic Penguins by Charles Bergman

Magellanic Penguins

Spheniscus magellanicus
The Magellanic Penguin is a member of the banded group of penguins.
Common Name: Magellanic Penguin
Scientific name: Spheniscus magellanicus
Population: 1.5 million breeding pairs
Weight and height: 3.2 kg – 4.6 kg, 65 cm
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Conservation status: Near Threatened
Population Trend: Decreasing
Geographic Breeding Range: Brazil; Peru; Uruguay; Falkland Islands; Argentina; Chile
Prey/diet: Fish, cephalopods, crustaceans
Distinguishing physical characteristics: A white crescent on each side of the head curves from the eye down to join at the throat. A black throat band connects with the black feathers of the back, and a second black inverted U-shaped band on the chest extends down each flank. During the breeding season, a bare patch of pink or white skin is present around the eyes, extending to the bill. Legs and feet are black with mottled white and pink blotches, bill is black with a gray band near the tip, eyes are reddish brown.

Fun Fact:

The Magellanic Penguin is named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first reported seeing them in 1520. Magellanic Penguins dig burrows in the dirt up to 1 meter deep to make their nest and raise their young.

Current Conservation Status

Population trends:

Decreasing arrow

Magellanic Penguin Conservation Status:


Range Map:

Get more penguin information at the links below

Read through related blogs from our penguin experts for more information on Magellanic Penguins: