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Macaroni Penguin

The Macaroni penguin is the most heavily populated species of all, as well as the largest of all six crested species. The macaroni penguin is most commonly found throughout the maritime Antarctic, as well as  subantarctic regions with large breeding populations found on South Georgia Island as well as various other islands of the Scotia Arc, on Heard Island, Marion Island, Isles Crozet, Kerguelen as well as the Falkland Islands. Even though there are so many penguins of the Macaroni variety, they are sometimes threatened because of the fishing industry, and the likelihood of oil spills in those areas.

The Macaroni penguin is quite large, and is much larger than many other crested varieties of penguins. They are often identifiable by their bright yellow marks, which start on their head, right in between their eyes. Macaronis have mostly black faces, while other crested penguins have white faces.

The Macaroni penguin mostly eats crustaceans, krill, fish and squid. Their prey is chased after, with the Macaroni penguin diving up to 200 feet, even diving up to 300 feet. They typically dive during the day, but sometimes during the nighttime as well, only for a few minutes.

The Macaroni penguin typically breeds only during the summer, with their tightknit groups looking out for flat, sloping plains, with the nests often created where there is some kind of crevice or shelter. These groups, which are often quite large, are usually completely empty during the colder winter months. During the breeding seasons, the Macaroni penguin will lay two eggs, with the first being much smaller than the second, and much less likely to actually ever hatch. Both the male and female Macaroni penguins help to incubate the egg, taking turns with warming and looking after the eggs while the other is hunting and gathering food.

The Macaroni’s egg usually hatches within a month, or a maximum of five weeks. Within the first month of hatching, the male Macaroni penguin will help to look after the chick, which is born covered in down, and the female takes care of feeding the chick. After a month, the chicks will form small groups with other chicks, where they huddle all together to stay warm and to protect one another while their parents are busy hunting for food and sustenance. The parents are usually gone all day, so it’s important for the chicks to stay together.

 

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