Two species of Penguins breed on Bird Island, Gentoo and Macaroni. We are lucky to have a Gentoo colony only a few minutes walk from the base, so it’s easy to pop over and take a few photos when there is some spare time.
Gentoo adults incubate for around 38 days, with the chicks brooded tightly for around 10 days. After about a month the chicks start crèching while both adults forage. After 100 days the chicks fledge having moulted their fluffy down, and look more like the adults but having a blue/grey back/flippers/head rather than a brown/black of worn adult feathers.
Gentoo’s can start breeding at 2 years old, with most birds breeding by 2-3 years.
Breeding success can vary massively depending on food availability. In a year where there is little krill available there can be a complete failure to breed successfully, with no chicks surviving to fledging. In better years you can get an average of just over 1 chick fledging per pair. This year looks good so far, with high numbers breeding, and lots of healthy looking chicks running around.