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Also known as the ringed penguin, bearded penguin, and stonecracker penguin, the chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) is native to a number of islands and shores in the Southern Pacific and Antarctic Oceans. Easily identified by its narrow black band under its head, the chinstrap penguin is currently under the Least Concern species of the IUCN Red List.
See the fact file below for more information on the chinstrap penguin or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Chinstrap Penguin worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- In 1781, naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster proposed the scientific name Aptenodytes antarctica, classifying it in the same genus as king and emperor penguins.
- In 1990, Kiwi ornithologist and zoologist Graham Turbott placed this species into the genus Pygoscelis, alongside the Adelie and gentoo penguins. This gave it the new genus and specific epithet Pygoscelis antarctica. However, there is a Latin grammar orthographic error between antarctica and its assigned genus, changing it to Pygoscelis antarcticus, which is the chinstrap penguin’s currently accepted scientific name.
- The chinstrap penguin reaches a length of 27 to 30 inches and weighs 7.1 to 11.7 pounds, varying with the time of year. Males are naturally larger than females.
- The adult chinstrap’s flippers have black and white edges and white inner sides. It is known for its black plumage on the top of its head, a white face, and a fine band of black feathers that stretches from the sides of the head, across each cheek, and below the chin.
- Another distinct feature of the chinstrap penguin is its fine ring of black skin circling each eye. It also has a short, black bill. Its muscular legs and webbed feet are pink, and it displays a unique waddle when it walks, which is mainly because of its stumpy legs.
- Its black back and white underside lets it camouflage through countershading when seen from above or below, which saves it from being detected by predators.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
- Chinstrap penguins are distributed around or near the earth’s pole. They are found in Antarctica, Argentina, Bouvet Island, Chile, and the Falkland Islands.
- Transient penguins have been spotted in New Zealand, the islands of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha, and South Africa.
- Large concentrations of the chinstrap penguins inhabit the breeding colonies along the coasts of the South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, and the South Sandwich Islands.
- The chinstrap penguin feeds on small fish, krill, shrimp, and squid. It swims up to 50 miles offshore each day to search for food.
- Its tightly packed feathers give it a waterproof coat, letting it swim in freezing waters. Moreover, thick vascularized adipose tissue deposits and complex blood vessels in the flippers and legs aid in the preservation of heat.
- Its primary predator at sea is the leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx). Annually, the leopard seal causes the decline of the chinstraps’ numbers by 5% to 20%.
- On land, the chinstrap penguin is preyed upon by the brown skua (Stercorarius antarcticus), south polar skua (Stercorarius maccormicki), and southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus). These three species usually feed on eggs and juveniles.
- The Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella) is also known to occasionally kill chinstrap penguins.
NESTING AND BREEDING
- During the winter season, chinstrap penguins stay on icebergs in warmer waters and on land north of their breeding colonies.
- After searching for food at sea from late March through October, adults go back to their colonies in early November. They build nests on hilly, rocky slopes, with the males building circular enclosures out of stones.
- Breeding females lay two eggs between late November and early December.
- These eggs are guarded by both parents, who take turns incubating their eggs for 5 to 10 days for the next five weeks. Before hatching, shift duration lasts up to 35 hours.
- Eggs hatch in early January. Chicks stay in the nest through the first few weeks of the next month before joining crèches or clusters with other members of their kind for warmth and protection while their parents look for food.
- Fledgling, the stage in which juveniles are ready for adulthood, happens during early March. Two months after they hatch, juvenile chinstrap penguins search for food in the sea for the first time.
- Sexual maturity starts between ages three and seven.
- Chinstrap penguins can live between 15 to 20 years old.
- The global count of chinstrap penguins is roughly at least eight million. Despite their decreasing population, their numbers are not extremely fragmented, and in most breeding colonies, these penguins’ population is increasing or stable.
- Currently, they are listed as a Least Concern species by the IUCN Red List.
- Chinstrap penguins are generally threatened by climate change. In some parts of its distribution, climate change causes scarcity of krill, which makes reproduction less successful for chinstrap penguins.
- Other threats to chinstrap penguins include volcanic events and the fishing of krill by humans.
Chinstrap Penguin Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the chinstrap penguin across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Chinstrap Penguin worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) which is native to a number of islands and shores in the Southern Pacific and Antarctic Oceans. Easily identified by its narrow black band under its head, the chinstrap penguin is currently under the Least Concern species of the IUCN Red List.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Chinstrap Penguin Facts
- Bearded Penguins
- Chinstrap Penguin Basics
- Chinstrap Penguin Anatomy
- Life Story
- Draw My Habitat
- Black and White
- Other Penguin Species
- Penguin Origami
- Chinstrap Penguin Recap
- Coping with Climate Change
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Link will appear as Chinstrap Penguin Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 1, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.