Penguin Social Structure
Penguin Social Structure
There is no denying that penguins are the most social types of birds out there. You can tell just by watching them in their colonies that they thrive on the interactions they have with each other. Yet they are very independent as well, creating their own burrows and piece of privacy for themselves. They often hunt together too which makes it easier for them to reduce the attacks from predators around them.
One way that a penguin strives to improve their social appeal is by preening their feathers. They are able to secrete oil naturally through a gland by their tails. They will access that oil with their bill and transfer it to the feathers. They often do this in the water. This is because the more physically attractive that a penguin is the more others seem to reach to is socially.
It is believed that it is their social status that allows them to be able to interact and to survive the harsh winters in many areas. It is this social structure that allows them to continue to motivate each other to move to the mating areas. That migration can be long and difficult so they have to depend on each other to arrive at their destination safely. Penguins don’t have leaders of the colony which is surprising to many people. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that there are some which are more dominate than others in the group. For example one penguin can do a certain action and most of the colony will follow along. This is very interesting and something that many researchers want to understand in better detail.
They are known to be lead though by their peers, especially the young ones. For example when one in the group jumps in the water they may all follow along. Such playful activities among the young penguins are believed to be a way for them to develop their own social skills as they mature.
The family core is the basis of the penguin’s survival and instinctively they are well aware of that fact. Their social structure allows them to adapt to what they need to do. This includes finding a good mate that they can work as a team with for the care of their eggs. Then they can focus their attention on caring for their offspring. It is their social nature that allows them to be successful with both of these activities.
It is important to note that the penguin social structure can change over time. They will display it differently when they are looking at a shortage of food or other adaptations that they have to make. Then it will come down to the strong surviving with the sacrifice of others. During mating season the social structure is different as well. This is because it is the females that get to determine who they will mate with instead of the males. The social structure can change too depending on the environment.
While almost all penguins do live in colonies, some reports of isolated stragglers here and there are reported. Instead of remaining with their group they end up alone out there and they readily enjoy it. This doesn’t occur very often and it is still something that researchers are very interested in learning more about.