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Visiting Penguins in their Natural Habitat

Updated on March 12, 2012

King Penguins Photographed by Travel Photographer Laurel Brunvoll in the Falkland Islands

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Falling in Love at First Sight

One single glance.

That's all it took for me to fall in love with penguins--their beauty, their grace, their intricate feathers, and their completely difficult habitat.

After seeing a colony of more than 1,000 King Penguins last year in the Falkland Islands--I've become very intrigued with penguins (and other birds in general).

Being up close and personal in the penguin's wild habitat was a completely different experience than seeing an animal in a zoo setting. I landed in Port Stanley during a cruise around Cape Horn (more details on that another time), and got into a four-wheel drive vehicle. After driving for almost 2--3 hours off road (on peat bogs), my dad and I arrived at a beach area. See the video below for actual footage from our wild ride with our local Falkland Islands driver, Matthew. He made our day so fun and enjoyable, especially when our car got stuck!

Getting Stuck

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Arriving at the Colony

After getting unstuck and driving through miles of sheep farms of Johnson Harbour, my tour group reached Volunteer Point, which is approximately 50 miles from Port Stanley. The King Penguin Colony is situated between a long, white sand beach and a salt water lagoon.

Not only did we get to spend time observing the King Penguins, but we were actually were able to see two other different kinds of penguins: Gentoo and Magellanic. I loved seeing all of them, but the King is my favorite.

King Penguins, Aptenodytes patagonicus, are the second largest penguins in the world, other than the Emperor, and stand about 3 feet tall and weigh approximately 33 lbs.

They huddled together when they weren't heading down to the water and jumping in the waves. And we were able to wtiness males showing off their trumpeting call while raising their heads (to impress the ladies!). To hear what they sound like, visit my Youtube video of a short clip below.

Common Name
Scientific Name
Characteristics
Habitat Range
King Penguin
Aptenodytes patagonicus
very social, don't build nests, second largest penguin
Sub-Antarctic
Gentoo Penguin
Pygoscelis papua
build nests at higher elevations, live near shore line for easy feeding
Southern Hempisphere (45-65 degrees south latitude)
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
monogamous species, build nests or will burrow
Neotropical, found 30 degrees south in Chile and to 40 degrees north in Argentina and Falkland Islandso 40 degrees south
King Penguins
King Penguins | Source
King Penguins lying down
King Penguins lying down | Source
Kings walking to the beach
Kings walking to the beach | Source
Close-up of King
Close-up of King | Source
Group shot of King Penguin Colony at Volunteer Point in Falkland Islands
Group shot of King Penguin Colony at Volunteer Point in Falkland Islands | Source
Gentoo penguin
Gentoo penguin | Source
Gentoo penguin
Gentoo penguin | Source
My dad near the Gentoos - they have no fear of humans.
My dad near the Gentoos - they have no fear of humans. | Source
Gentoo penguin
Gentoo penguin | Source

Look at the King's Intricate Feathers

Shiny feathers overlap to protect their skin. Much more dense than other birds. Tufts of down are on the shafts of feathers for more insulation.
Shiny feathers overlap to protect their skin. Much more dense than other birds. Tufts of down are on the shafts of feathers for more insulation. | Source
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Commentary

I hope you've enjoyed being introduced to these magnificent pelagic birds. Though they are hard to get to--living in the far reaches of the Southern Hemisphere-- sincerely wish for every person to have the opportunity to see them in their natural habitat.

Please refrain from pinning or using these photos without my written consent and permission. Thank you.

Falkland Islands

Comments

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    • thacker profile image

      thacker 5 years ago

      Great hub I love this topic. I am hoping to go and see some Penguins this summer. I am very excited and reading your hub got me even more excited.

      Thanks!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
      Author

      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      Thank you, Thacker! I'm so glad it fueled your excitement. Penguins are simply magnificent creatures. Where are you hoping to see them? I had fun reliving my trip and just wanted to share it with others. All the best to you!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Goodness, Laurel, your photos are gorgeous! What an amazing trip this was! Thanks so much for sharing these fascinating images with us.

    • Kalmiya profile image

      Kalmiya 5 years ago from North America

      What great photos! I think penguins are so neat. Have you ever seen those funny ones called rock hopper penguins? They have a funny tuft on the head that makes them look nutty (like me too early in the morning)! Thanks for your hub.

    • Ciel Clark profile image

      Ciel Clark 5 years ago from USA

      great photos! What an experience, thanks for sharing!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      What an interesting adventure this was..and to see the Penguins in their natural habitat, cool!!!

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! To read and vote, this way please https://hubpages.com/community/The-Good-the-Bad-an...

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
      Author

      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      Simone, thank you so much for your compliments! It was a trip of a lifetime with memories that I will always cherish. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
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      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      Kalmiya,I appreciate your comments! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I definitely have a newly found love of penguins -- and desire to learn more about them. I didn't get to see the Rock Hoppers on this trip because there wasn't enough time -- apparently they don't hang out with the Kings on the Falkland Islands. They are such unique birds!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
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      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      Ciel, I'm so glad you liked the pictures I took. Again, it was such a memorable opportunity--I feel very fortunate to have experienced the beauty of these magnificent birds in person. Thanks again!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
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      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      ripplemaker, I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub. Thanks so much for letting me know about this Hubnuggets nomination. How exciting! I'm so new to this that I didn't know about it. I appreciate your nomination! What a huge compliment! Thank you!

    • profile image

      Cindy 5 years ago

      Laur... I miss you! These photos are amazing! I hope you win! ;)

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
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      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      Cindy, thank you! I miss you too!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Welcome to Hub Pages.

      Thanks so much for sharing this delightful hub about penguins. The photos were absolutely stunning.

      Voted up across the board except for funny.

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Fantastic Hub, Laurel. Penguins are such fascinating birds, and the fact that you actually went to see them, and have included your own photos is a bonus. Congrats on the nomination, will definitely vote for this one. Voted up and shared.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 5 years ago from Singapore

      Its a fantastic hub. We dont have Penguins on the sub -continent. Great to know about these animals.

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 5 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Great Hub, beautiful photos and well presented. Voted up, etc. You have my Hubnugget vote!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
      Author

      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      Happyboomernurse, thanks for your warm welcome! I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
      Author

      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      JKenny, why thank you! I totally agree that penguins are simply fascinating. Honestly, before this trip, my only knowledge and impressions were based upon a trip to Sea World and a zoo in Tennesse. I feel very lucky to have seen them in the wild. Again, thank you so much for your vote!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
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      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      MG Singh, thanks! I'm happy to be able to share this incredible experience with others--I literally couldn't stop taking photos! They were soooo beautiful.

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
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      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      Joanveronica, thank you for your Hubnugget vote! I really appreciate it! It's quite a compliment. I am thrilled to have had the chance to relive this special memory and share it with others!

    • farmloft profile image

      farmloft 5 years ago from Michigan

      Nice pictures and I learned interesting facts about penguins. Thanks!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Just realized this is a HubNuggets nomination and came back to let you know I voted for it. Good luck!

    • lelaiskandar profile image

      Iskandar Suhaimi 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Amazing and amusing pics. I really wish i could be there too.

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
      Author

      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      farmloft, thanks! I'm glad you liked the photos--I just kept snapping away that day hoping that I would get some good shots. All the best!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
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      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      Why thank you, Happyboomernurse! I really appreciate your vote! Thanks!

    • Laurel Brunvoll profile image
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      Laurel Brunvoll 5 years ago

      lelaiskandar, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I'm glad I could share this experience virtually with others.

    • profile image

      Mandy 8 days ago

      Great article and photos!!!

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