Adelie Penguin Classification and Evolution
The Adelie Penguin is the smallest and most widely distributed species of Penguin in the Southern Ocean and is one of only two species of Penguin found on the Antarctic mainland (the other being the much larger Emperor Penguin). The Adelie Penguin was named in 1840 by French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville who named the Penguin for his wife, Adelie. Adelie Penguins have adapted well to life in the Antarctic as these migratory Birds winter in the northern pack-ice before returning south to the Antarctic coast for the warmer summer months.
Adelie Penguin Anatomy and Appearance
The Adelie Penguin is one of the most easily identifiable Penguin species with a blue-black back and completely white chest and belly. The head and beak of the Adelie Penguin are both black, with a distinctive white ring around each eye. The strong, pink feet of the Adelie Penguin are tough and bumpy with nails that not only aid the Adelie Penguin in climbing the rocky cliffs to reach its nesting grounds, but also help to push them along when they are sliding (rowing) along the ice. Adelie Penguins also use their webbed feet along with their small flippers to propel them along when swimming in the cold waters.
Adelie Penguin Distribution and Habitat
The Adelie Penguin is one of the southern-most Birds in the world as it is found along the Antarctic coastline and on the islands close to it. During the winter months, the Adelie Penguins migrate north where they inhabit large platforms of ice and have better access to food. During the warmer summer months, the Adelie Penguins return south where they head for the coastal beaches in search of ice-free ground on the rocky slopes where they can build their nests. More than half a million Adelie Penguins have formed one of the largest animal colonies in the world on Ross Island, an island formed by the activities of four monstrous volcanoes in the Ross Sea.