In December 2014, Rodolfo Werner, Ph.D., a Pew adviser, visited the Antarctic Peninsula as an educator and scientist aboard an Antarctic cruise. He has traveled to the southernmost continent more than 12 times and returns from each trip with amazing photographs of some of the world’s most beloved birds.
To celebrate World Penguin Day on April 25, here are just a few photos of some of the charismatic species he has encountered in the Southern Ocean.
Gentoo penguins on Enterprise Island, a popular spot for Antarctic tourists. Gentoos make their homes on rocky shores, not icy landscapes.
With their distinct black-and-white markings, chinstraps are among the most recognizable penguin species. There are about 4 million breeding pairs of chinstraps, with most in the Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands in the Southern Ocean. This one lives on Half Moon Island, part of the South Shetland Islands.
Gentoo penguins at Danco Island, Antarctica. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, gentoo penguins are Near Threatened with extinction. Human interference and habitat degradation are among the main threats they face.
A chinstrap penguin, left, approaches a group of gentoos on Booth Island in the Antarctic Peninsula region. Species of penguins often have overlapping breeding, foraging, and colony ranges. In fact, six species of penguin can be found in this area—emperor, king, gentoo, chinstrap, Adélie, and macaroni.
After a hearty meal of krill, the shrimplike core of the Southern Ocean food web, a gentoo penguin protects its chick on the rocky shores of Antarctica’s Jougla Point. Gentoos are known for using pebbles to build their nests—and often for stealing these small rocks from their neighbors.
Macaroni penguins were named for their bright yellow and orange crest feathers. Sailors in the 19th century were reminded of macaronism, a distinct European style of dress, when they first saw the penguins off the coast of Antarctica. This penguin resides at Orne Harbor.