Fun Adélie Penguin Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 08, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Adélie penguin facts are pretty interesting.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.8 Min

Penguins are one of the cutest among all birds. Penguins live in the land of the cold, in Antarctica. So, we don't see them every day on our way to work.

Hence, they surely pique our interest. There are 18 different species of penguins and Adélies (Pygoscelis adeliae) are one of the most common and smaller among them.

Though they can be pretty feisty and aggressive compared to their size. Of course, Adélies are not as aggressive as Gentoo Penguins, the most aggressive of all the penguins. Adélies stay in colonies and mate for life.

The Adélies are thriving now and trying their best to adapt to climate change and changes to their living space but global warming is posing a threat to its life. Read on to explore more information and if you like this article, then also check out Atlantic puffin facts and sturgeon facts.

Adélie Penguin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Adélie Penguin?

Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) are a species of penguins living in Antarctica.

What class of animal does an Adélie Penguin belong to?

The Adélie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) are part of the aves class of animals.

How many Adélie Penguins are there in the world?

According to the reports of Lynch and La Rue, there are estimated around 3.79 million breeding pairs between 2006 and 2011 spread across 190 - 250 breeding colonies, which equates to 7.58 million Adélie Penguins breeding individuals.

But, this number doesn't include the penguins who skipped any breeding season within those years, which can be estimated to be 20% more.

Equating the total number of breeding-aged Adelie penguin individuals to be around 10 million at the moment and including the pre-breeding penguins along with these mature penguins, can sum up to be somewhere around 14 - 16 million.

Where does the Adélie Penguin live?

Adelie Penguin only lives in Antarctica along with other species of penguins. But they are one of the most common among them. Due to the harsh cold climate of the Antarctic, the penguins mainly live on the rocky coastline and the surrounding islands of Antarctica.

They cover mainly the southern Antarctic peninsula. There used to be quite a number of them in the northern Antarctic peninsula too but the number has been in decline in recent years. The population has started to stabilize though.

What is the Adélie Penguin's habitat?

These penguins are migratory. Their movement according to the seasons has a pattern and tells us about their habitat.

The penguins mainly nest on rocky coastal areas that are ice-free during the breeding season. They look for more open areas that would be able to accommodate larger colonies. During the non-breeding season, the adult penguins move into the pack-ice which can be about 620 - 1550 miles from the breeding colonies.

This distance also depends on the distance to the sea ice edge. When the sea ice hadn't melted due to severe global warming, their movement was limited, mostly staying in their colonies and nests throughout the year.

Who do Adélie Penguins live with?

Adelie penguins live as a colony with other penguins of their breed. They look for places to live and for food together. These penguins are only seen in and around Antarctica. So, it's safe to say they don't like to be around humans. In fact, human intrusion is one of the reasons their livelihood is threatened.

How long does an Adélie Penguin live?

Adélie Penguins usually live about 10 to 20 years on average.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season for Adélie Penguins is usually in the spring. The females reach sexual maturity at three years and for the males, it's four years. Then these penguins always return to their same nesting sites for breeding.

The males return to the breeding colonies first and build up a nest made of stone. They go through a process of perfect stone searching, stealing, and then rearranging these stones to build a nest.

Then the females come back and the males start to engage in a series of courtship rituals where they arch their necks, thrust their beaks, or stand tall reaching their full height. The pairs usually recognize the calls of their mates. Adélies usually mate for life.

The females lay two eggs in the nest in the time between late November or early December. The parents alternatively care for the eggs during the incubation period, which lasts about 32 - 36 days.

Even after the chicks hatch, the parents take alternative turns for their parenting duties. Then after about 22 days, the chicks join small créches. After about 50 - 60 days, the parents leave the chicks to fend for themselves.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the status of the Adélie Penguins is Least Concern. They are one of the most common penguins living in Antarctica right now.

According to the reports of Lynch and LaRue, the global population of penguins had increased. Including the northern Antarctic Peninsula where the number had been declining over the last many years but it's started stabilizing now.

Adélie Penguin Fun facts

What do Adélie Penguins look like?

Ad\u00e9lie Penguin

Penguins are small and gorgeous-looking birds. Specially Adélie penguins, who are comparatively smaller. Their back, head including their face and tail are blue-black colored, while their underparts are full of white-colored feathers.

They have brown eyes and their most distinctive and unique feature is the white ring around their eye. They have black and orange bill, half of which stays covered with feathers. They have dull white to pink colored legs and they have feet with black soles.

How cute are they?

Penguins are one of the cutest birds out there and Adélie penguins are no different, in fact they may even be cuter due to their small size. According to Apsley Cherry-Garrard, he wrote in his book, 'The Worst Journey In The World' that they are like children.

They stand on the edge of the ice together in a group and push one of their peers into the water.

Then they would watch if their friend was safe in the water and then the rest would follow. This behavior screams cuteness just as much as their black and white feathers.

How do they communicate?

Adélie penguins are all very much social and they can be very vocal with their friends and mates. These penguins mainly communicate with each other by posturing or displays.

The paired penguins usually know the displays or calls of each other. Adélie penguins use these calls to call out for their mates and their babies. They can identify each other with these calls.

Adélie penguins also use signals when they're under stress, raising the feathers on their heads. They also signal any kind of threats by staring sideways and raising their crest with their eyes rolled downwards.

How big is an Adélie Penguin?

Adélie penguins are a bit smaller compared to other penguins. They are generally 27.5 - 29 in (70 - 73 cm) talk when standing.

How fast can an Adélie Penguin fly?

Penguins in general cannot fly. Most birds have hollow bones that make them lightweight so that they can fly. But, in the case of penguins, they don't have that and quite a few of their wing bones are fused, to swim like experts. So, just like all other penguins, Adélie penguins cannot fly either.

How much does an Adélie Penguin weigh?

Adélie penguins are smaller in size. Females weigh about 8.6 - 10.5 lb (3.9 - 4.8 kg) and males weigh about 9.6 - 11.8 lb (4.3 - 5.3 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Adult males of the penguins are called cocks and adult females of them are called hens. While a group of them on the land would be called a waddle and in the water would be called a raft.

What would you call a baby Adélie Penguin?

Baby penguins are called chicks, or sometimes hatchling or nestling. So, little babies of Adélie penguins would be called Adelie penguin chicks.

What do they eat?

The resources for food of the Adélies are mainly the waters surrounding the ice sheets. Adélie penguins feed on krill. Their diet also consists of fish and cephalopods. Just like other penguins they are expert swimmers.

They can dive 170 meters (558 ft) in the water searching for prey. But mostly they prey in shallow waters. They can travel up to 93 miles (150km) in search of prey when they're not tending to their babies.

Are they dangerous?

They cannot be called dangerous in the traditional manner of speaking. They don't pose any surreal danger to anyone.

But they sure can be feisty and a little aggressive. Don't be fooled by their small frame, these small wonders can take on bigger predators, like large seabirds or seals. They even slap away human researchers with their flippers, who they see as intruders in their homes.

Would they make a good pet?

It's highly recommended that you don't try to keep them as pets. All penguins are wild animals. They stay in packs, with their fellow breed, in a colony.

Just as well, Adélie penguins would also never do well in a house or an apartment. They are accustomed to a certain climate in the polar regions. That climate cannot be made in a house and even if it was possible, it would be pretty harmful to the penguins.

Did you know...

The Adélie penguins have the scientific name of Pygoscelis adeliae. Here, Pygoscelis actually means ‘rump-legged’. But the genus they belong to is actually known as the 'brush-tailed penguins'.

The Adélie penguins are quite territorial animals.

All Adélie penguins are similar in features and size which makes them hard to differentiate.

Among the 18 different species of penguins, only two - the Adélies and the Emperor penguins - have truly made Antarctica their home.

A colony of five million Adelie penguins can eat approximately 17.6 million lb (8 million kg) of krill and fish every day.

Adélie penguins have impeccable navigation skills.

The Adélie Penguin's Survival Techniques

There are a few predators that are a threat to an Adelie penguin. Their predator on land is the south polar skua and predators in the ocean are leopard seals and killer whales.

When they go into the ocean foraging for food, that's when leopard seals or killer whales can cause them a problem. They usually stay together in a group as survival of an individual in a group is more likely.

While going to search for food, one of them would dive into the ocean or gets pushed and if they survive, the others follow in order.

South polar skuas on the other hand prey on eggs or chicks if they are left unattended. The Adélie penguins also have a way of communicating when under stress, they raise their crests, roll their eyes downwards staring sideways.

How to Pronounce Adélie Penguin

Adélie penguins got their name from the wife of the French Antarctic Explorer, Jules Dumont d'Urville, whose name was Adèle Dumont d'Urville. So, the pronunciation can be a bit tricky. Phonetically the pronunciation would be - 'ah-deh-lie Pen-gwin' or 'Adell-ee pain-guin'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the secretary bird, or the great green macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Adélie penguin coloring pages.

coastal areas of antarctica and on the surrounding islands ross sea

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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