Adelie Penguin Facts
The Adelie Penguin is one that often looks quite overweight. It is short but wide which tends to give it
that appearance. They are very short with an overall height of no more than 30 inches. They weight
approximately 8-13 pounds. Classified as the smallest of the Antarctic penguins though it is definitely able
to hold its own out there.
Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae), Ross Sea, Antarctica. Author: Michael Van
Woert, NOAA NESDIS, ORA, Feb 1998
They have some identifying marks that help to keep them properly identified. You will notice they have rings of
white around their eyes. They also have a tail that is longer than that of other species. They beak has a red color
to it but the tip of it is black.
Adelie Penguin Habitat
The Adelie Penguins have been found to reside in all areas of the Antarctic as well as various islands including
It is believed that more than 5 million Adelie Penguins live in the Ross Sea area. They live in very large
colonies too, with 38 distinct ones being identified by researchers. This is one of the most popular types of
penguins that people are aware of.
Adelie Penguin Behavior
The Adelie Penguins are extremely social. They are very mellow in nature too so they tend to get along with each
other most of the time. They have very powerful feet which help them to get around on the ice. They can also leap
from the water to land without slipping or sliding. They have an unbelievable grip which allows them to survive in
this cold part of the world.
Many people believe that the Adelie Penguins are fun creatures by nature. This is because they are often seen
sliding on their bellies and sledding down snow hills. However, this is very different from just regular play
time. They use these types of moves to help them move along the ice without becoming tired out. They love to use
such moves to get around on piles of ice and even icebergs out there on the frozen waters.
Adelie Penguin Diet
Krill is the main food of this penguin. Other items that they get from the water include silverfish, squid
Scientists believed that Adelie Penguins consume much less food in the winter months than in other times of
Adelie Penguin Reproduction
The Adelie Penguins move to the breed grounds in October or November. They make nests out of stone and loose
pieces of grass. It is during this period of time though that their very calm nature towards each other can become
aggressive. It isn’t uncommon for them to steal entire nests or at least the materials used to make them from each
The pair will take turns incubating the egg until it hatches in early March. They will return with food for the
young. When food is short, only one of the two chicks may survive. Four weeks after a chick has hatched it will
join a creche of other juvenile Adelie penguins for protection and safety. After 56-60 days in the creche most
Adelie penguins become independent and begin to swim on their own.
Adelie Penguin Conservation
There have been significant threats to the Adelie Penguin over the past several decades. It is estimated that
more than 65% of them have been lost over that span of time. Part of the problem is that they live on the sea ice
and that natural environment is being depleted due to man and due to global warming. A lack of food has also
resulted in lower numbers. Efforts are in place to protect their natural environment from human destruction.
Despite this decrease in population, they are considered as “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List because the
large population still available.