December 13th, 2018

King Penguin - Aptenodytes patagonicus

Today's photograph is of the second largest penguin in the world, the King Penguin. The largest being the emperor penguin of the Antarctic.

These birds are very special and have some of the most striking featured and abilities of any bird that I have come across so far. As they grow up they have a beak plate that falls off and the underlying one grows through and turns the characteristic red/orange colour we see here. Only surpassed by their very unique eye, that can be a few different colours too.

Like most marine birds they excrete salt from their beak, and they expel most of it when they shake their heads. Not knowing this, there was a lot of salt on the camera lenses on the day. It was also quite hard to clean off. Other adaptations include some incredible swimming abilities. Although flightless, they do appear to fly underwater and rival any fish that they would like to chase and eat.