Penguin Watch Talk

Groups of Penguins

  • micaelasupsky by micaelasupsky

    I've noticed that in these pictures there are usually large groups of penguins hanging out together. Do they usually travel in large groups or do they ever break apart from one another?


  • gardenmaeve by gardenmaeve moderator

    Good question! The photos we ask you to classify are all at penguin rookeries where the young are brooded, hatched, and raised to young adulthood before winter, so the whole group (sometimes small, often huge) will be seen for most of the nesting season. The answer as to whether they travel in large groups or break apart would depend upon the species, the distance to good fishing grounds, the time of year, and the local conditions.

    Generally for Gentoos the rookeries are in their usual living and feeding territory, so we do see them in small groups in the winter (nonbreeding) photos. In addition, especially for larger colonies they obviously can't all fish in the same area so there is some dispersal. Finally, individuals and smaller groups will be coming and going at different times depending on how good fishing is, how far they must walk, toboggan and swim to get to fishing grounds, whether a pair is feeding one chick or two, and so on.