Chinstrap penguin

The small penguin species include the Adelie Penguin Pygoscelis adeliae, the Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua, and the Chinstrap Penguin Pygoscelis antartica. Chinstrap, Gentoo, and Adelie penguins all belong to the Pygoscelis genus of penguins, which means brush-tailed or long-tailed penguins. All three of these species are about the same size.

The chinstrap penguin was formerly almost entirely confined to the South American guadrant of Antarctica but they have increased and spread east to the Balleny Islands in the Ross Sea sector. There are now more than seven million pairs of Chinstrap penguins. Some scientists think that this increase might be a result of the decline in the number of plankton-feeding whales or as a response to climate change.

Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins are different from the Adelies and Emperors in that although all four of these penguin species are considered the most southern of all penguins, only Adelies and Emperors actually breed on the continent itself. Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins both penetrate south of the Antarctic Convergence, but their breeding grounds are further to the north. Chinstraps breed on the islands around the continent and some are found on the islands close to the Antarctic Convergence.

Chinstraps always nest on rocky ground, and they build their nests out of pebbles. Chinstraps have a diet that consists almost entirely of krill. They are very noisy and aggressive.

Sub Species:

Other common names:  — 

bearded penguin, ringed penguin, stone cracker penguin, Aptenodytes antarctica.

Description:  — 

Native bird

75 cm., 5.5 kg., black upperparts; sides of face, chin and underparts white except for a narrow black band extending across face, under the eye and throat, hence the name.

Where to find:  — 

In New Zealand territory, the Ross Sea sector of Antarctica.

Credit for the photograph: — 

Illustration description: — 


Gray, George Robert & Sharpe, R. Bowdler. The Zoology of the voyage of HMS Erebus & Terror. Birds of New Zealand., E.W. Janson, London 1875. The revised edition of Gray (1846).

Reference(s): — 


Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Web site:
Australian Antaractic Division

Page date & version: — 


Saturday, 17 May, 2014; ver2009v1


©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.