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Ukrainian polar explorers show penguins nesting near Vernadsky Research Base

25 April, 2024 Thursday
16:00

April 25 marks World Penguin Day: Ukrainian polar explorers showed penguins nesting near the Vernadsky Research Base and told about their peculiarities

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This is reported by the National Antarctic Research Center.

The scientists said that there are 18 species of penguins in the world, 5 of which can be seen in the Antarctic. Among them, three species nest directly in the area of the Ukrainian Vernadsky Research Base station.

The species that live in the vicinity of the Ukrainian station belong to the genus Pygoscelis:

  • Pygoscelis papua - subantarctic penguin;
  • Pygoscelis antarcticus - Antarctic penguin;
  • Pygoscelis adeliae - Adelie penguin.

According to polar explorers, these species have common features. In particular, they all start the mating season in the Antarctic spring. These birds build nests of stones and lay mostly two eggs, rarely one or three. The chicks are born in a little more than a month.

"In all species, both partners are responsible for parenthood: they take turns incubating eggs and then protecting and feeding the chicks. They also have the same enemies, including sea leopards and skuas," the scientists say.

What makes these penguins different is, first of all, their appearance. Subantarctic penguins are the largest and most colorful: they are up to 81 cm tall, have a red beak, white spots above their eyes, and look like they are wearing a tailcoat. Antarctic penguins are somewhat smaller, up to 77 centimeters tall and distinguished by a thin black stripe in the middle of their chin. Adelie penguins, up to 75 cm tall, are the smallest. They have a completely black head and white-blue eyes.

"In addition, sub-Antarctic penguins are thermophilic, while other species prefer cold conditions. Adelie penguins nest on the coasts of the entire continent, while other Pygoscelis are tied to islands or peninsulas. For example, on our Galindez Island this season, there was a record number of sub-Antarctic penguins - up to 7 thousand. At the same time, only 2 pairs of Adelie penguins nested, and no Antarctic penguin nests were found at all," the scientists added.

The polar explorers noted that it is not common to see these three species in the vicinity of the Vernadsky Research Base station. Ukrainian biologists have observed annual nesting nearby and successful hatching of chicks of all species only on But Island.

  • This season (September-April), Ukrainian polar explorers counted a record number of sub-Antarctic penguins on Galindez Island - more than 7,000.
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