Saturday, September 24, 2011
Australia - Gentoo Penguin
Gentoo Penguins are at home in the ocean. They use their flippers to propel themselves through the water, reaching speeds of 36 kilometres an hour in the hunt for prey. Adults build nests constructed of pebbles, sticks, grass and feathers to incubate their eggs. Arguments are common during the breeding season as neighbours often steals pebbles from surrounding nests.
Sent by Julie, a postcrosser from Melbourne, Australia.
This is from Wikipedia : The Gentoo Penguin ( /ˈdʒɛntuː/ jen-too), Pygoscelis papua, is easily recognized by the wide white stripe extending like a bonnet across the top of its head and its bright orange-red bill. The gentoo penguin has pale whitish-pink webbed feet and a fairly long tail - the most prominent tail of all penguins. Chicks have grey backs with white fronts. As the Gentoo penguin waddles along on land, its tail sticks out behind, sweeping from side to side, hence the scientific name Pygoscelis, which means ‘brush-tailed’ Adult Gentoos reach a height of 51 to 90 cm (20–36 in), making them the largest penguins outside of the two giant species, the Emperor Penguin and the King Penguin. The Gentoo penguin calls in a variety of ways, but the most frequently heard is a loud trumpeting which is emitted with its head thrown back.
The application of Gentoo to the penguin is unclear, according to the OED, which reports that Gentoo was an Anglo-Indian term, used as early as 1638 to distinguish Hindus in India from Muslims, the English term originating in Portuguese gentio (compare "gentile"); in the twentieth century the term came to be regarded as derogatory.
The Gentoo Penguin is one of three species in the genus Pygoscelis. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence suggests the genus split from other penguins around 38 million years ago, about 2 million years after the ancestors of the genus Aptenodytes. In turn, the Adelie Penguins split off from the other members of the genus around 19 million years ago, and the Chinstrap and Gentoo finally diverging around 14 million years ago.
Two sub-species of this penguin are recognised: Pygoscelis papua papua and the smaller Pygoscelis papua ellsworthii'