Adélie penguin in Graham Passage, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica
© Nick Garbutt/Minden Picture
Flightless fancy. Penguin Awareness Day
Let's hear it for our poster penguin on Penguin Awareness Day. This cheerful specimen is an Adélie penguin, one of 20 known penguin species and a common sight this time of year in parts of Antarctica. Breeding season for these birds begins by October, when they gather in colonies of thousands, coupling off and constructing nests made of stones.
When it comes to parenting, Adélie couples are true partners. The female lays two eggs, and then the parents each take turns incubating them in 12-day shifts until the chicks hatch after about a month. The chicks remain in the nest for around 22 days, while both parents again take turns, this time by feeding and guarding them. Once March rolls around, the parents return to the sea, bringing their young along with them. They'll spend the winter foraging for food among the icebergs.