Top 10 Gentoo penguin fact, weight, habitat, breeding, diet

Gentoo penguin

Gentoo penguins are the miracles of nature like all other penguins. The scientific name for the gentoo penguins is “Pygoscelis papua.” These penguins also thrive in the lands of the Antarctic. Gentoo penguins are famous for their bright tangy orange-red bills, white feather caps, and feet with a tinge of peach.

Gentoo penguins are excellent swimmers and waddlers. They inhabit the Antarctic peninsula and various frozen islands surrounding it. After Emperor, and King penguins, gentoo penguins are the third largest penguin species. They can grow about a height of thirty inches, and can weigh up to twelve pounds.

Gentoo penguins form pairs for life, the parents are very affectionate and they nurture their young ones with all care and love. During the time of the birth both of the parent penguins work together to build a nice circular home made of stones. The mother then fills the home with her two eggs and both the male and the female incubate the eggs respectively on their turns.Emperor penguin facts.

Like all penguins, gentoo penguins are not made for the land. Therefore, they are active swimmers and are equipped with underwater structures. They have long beaks and wide paddled feet, hence a very streamlined body that makes them capable of travelling at twenty-two miles per hour.

The Gentoo penguins with the scientific name of Pygoscelis papua are the third-largest penguin species that inhabit Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, Falkland Islands, and Antarctic Islands. These birds with a black-colored throat have a brush tail, which is larger than the other penguin species. In addition to this, the Gentoo penguins have peach-colored feet, white-colored feather caps, and red and orange-colored beaks. They can dive up to the depths of 560 to 660 feet. These animal species with a gestation period of 35 days can live an average life of about 13 years. Here, we are going to discuss some interesting facts about these birds.

Gentoo penguin weight

These animal species have a length between the ranges of 30 to 37 inches. The Gentoo penguin height is 30 inches, thus weighing between 12 and 19 pounds. If we talk about males and females, both sexes are closely similar to each other with an exception that males are much heavier as compared to females. The minimum weight of males before mating is 11 pounds while before molting, they have a maximum weight of about 19 pounds. 

Gentoo penguin habitat

They are mostly seen across the shorelines, which gives them quick access to food. These birds breed only in Antarctic Peninsula and snow and ice-free areas. Furthermore, their habitat varies with the region and have much wider distribution in the Southern altitudes. The Gentoo penguin habitat also includes sheltered valleys and a North-facing location for nesting purposes. These birds gather in the breeding pair colonies ranging from a few dozen to many thousands.

Gentoo penguin adaptations

Some of the exciting adaptations of these animal species are as mentioned below:

  1. Their strong paddle-shaped flippers and streamlined bodies help them propel up to 22 miles per hour
  2. They have black-colored backs so that different sea birds cannot recognize them
  3. These birds can also slide across the snow to get escaped from predators i.e., seals
  4. The white-colored bodies are present in them so that they can blend in water during swimming

Gentoo penguin diet

Like all other animal species, these birds also require a proper diet for their survival. For example, the Gentoo penguin diet includes crustaceans, squid, and fish that make up to fifteen percent of their diet. In addition to this, these birds can make about 450 dives/day during food foraging. They can remain underwater for a maximum of seven minutes, and their maximum diving depth is 200 meters.

Gentoo penguin breeding

As these birds are monogamous, they have three breeding seasons, after which they change their partners. The male ones use stones as gifts for attracting females. They also attract females by trumpeting skyward. These animal species start breeding after reaching the age of 2 to 4 years. Like other penguins, their females also lay two eggs per clutch and show changeability in their breeding cycles.  

Gentoo penguin lifespan

These penguins, like other species, have a specific period of time to live. Those who are in the wild have a lifespan in the range of 15 to 20 years, while those who remain in captivity can have a longer life. Instead of this, some of these Gentoo penguins die during the first year of their lives, and the survival chance until next year is about 30 to 50 percent. While the minimum lifespan, up to which they can live, is thirteen years. 

Gentoo penguin behavior

Like other penguin species, they are also social birds, thus staying close to their colonies. They use to spend their lives in the same breeding place. These animal species are not so aggressive but sometimes show frustration when someone tries to snatch their eggs. They also become angry while protecting their nests and chicks.

Gentoo penguin swimming

These animal species learn about swimming without their parents’ help. They are fast and agile while in the water and are considered to be clumsy and slow birds on land. Researches have shown that the Gentoo penguins are the fastest swimming birds of other penguin species. They use these skills during the hunting of squad, fish, krill, and other food sources. 

Gentoo penguin facts

There are present many exciting facts and information about these animal species, some of which include that they are the third largest of all penguin species. In addition to this, the Gentoo penguin facts for kids also include that they use pebbles and molted feathers in Antarctica as nesting materials. These birds decrease their heart rate by up to 100 beats per minute during deep diving. They do not have a yearly migration life cycle, unlike other penguin species.

Gentoo penguin 2

Gentoo penguin predators

The animal species who eat these birds and others are known as predators. Some predators of these penguins include sea lions, orcas, and leopard seals. The orcas ones patrol waters around their different colonies. Furthermore, humans are also their main predators who use them for a variety of oil and skin purposes. Due to all these reasons, the Gentoo penguin population is decreasing.

Gentoo penguin population

The approximate population of these birds that is found at the Falkland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, and South Georgia is 387000 breeding pairs.  However, this population is assumed to be decreasing gradually because of different factors, including habitat loss, predators, and other threats to them.


Sometimes the people get confused even after reading the interesting facts and information about these social birds and raise some questions to make their minds clear. So, the answers to some of those raised questions are as given below:

How did the Gentoo penguin get its name?

These birds belong to genus Brush-tailed penguins and are known as Gentoo penguins. They use to toddle across on land, and their tails stick out behind, thus sweeping from side to side. Due to this reason, they have a scientific name of Pygoscelis, meaning rump-tailed.

Where are Gentoo penguins found?

As these penguins breed on the Antarctic Peninsula and Sub-Antarctic Islands, they have a very large geographical range. They like to walk around in different colonies ranging from a few dozens to many thousands. Their largest populations are found in South Georgia, Antarctic Peninsula, and at the Falkland Islands.

How many Gentoo penguins are left in the world?

Researches have shown that almost 300,000 breeding pairs of these animal species have left in the world. In addition to this, their population is decreasing rapidly because of different threats, including habitat loss and predators. Due to these reasons, these birds have been listed in the category of endangered species. 

Are Gentoo penguins rare?

It has been estimated that the largest populations of these birds are found in Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, and at the Falkland Islands. There are present about 387,000 breeding pairs of these animal species but are still considered the least concerned species.

gentoo penguin infographic

What is a penguin baby called?

The individual baby penguins are known as nestlings or chicks, while a group of many baby penguins is known as a crèche. The female lay two eggs per clutches. Their babies are covered with brown, grey, or white-colored plumage.

Do penguins really give pebbles?

Although penguins give rocks, when they select their pebbles, they present them to the intentional companions. If the females approve, they put them in their nests and are ready for mating. These pebbles are so precious to males that they sometimes fight over the attractive selections. 

Are Gentoo penguins aggressive?

Although these are social birds, they sometimes become aggressive. For example, when someone tries to snatch their eggs, they become frustrated. Instead of this, they also become aggressive while protecting their nests and chicks from predators.

What are Gentoo penguins’ enemies?

Some of the enemies of these birds are sea lions, leopard seals and orcas that patrol the waters around their different colonies. Humans are also their main enemies who are using them for different oil and skin purposes. 

Can Gentoo penguins fly?

Although other penguins cannot fly, these Gentoo penguins have wings and can fly. They can dive up to the depths of 560 to 660 feet.

Do Gentoo penguins mate for life?

These animal species are monogamous. They start mating while reaching the age of 2 to 4 years. They have three breeding seasons, after which they tend to change their mates. 


As we have discussed many of the exciting facts and information about these animal species, they do have some threats for their survival as well. For example, there are present many of predators due to which their population is declining rapidly. Humans are also included in them who use them for oil and skin purposes. Furthermore, these social animals are not so aggressive and will attack only if provoked. We must not use these Gentoo penguins for our usage so that their population may not decline. There must also be proper support to those people who are helping these social animal species by providing them with proper care and diet.


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