A highly gregarious species, the King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) gathers in breeding colonies that range from 30 to hundreds of thousands of birds. When ready to mate, a male will advertise its availability with trumpet-like calls, and by stretching tall, with its bill elegantly upraised. During pair formation, both sexes engage in an elaborate display of head shaking, strutting, bowing, calling, and high-pointing, where a couple stand face-to-face, and slowly rise to their full height before relaxing again. A single egg is laid between November and April, with both parent birds sharing incubation duties in two to three week cycles. Instead of building a nest, the egg is incubated on top of the feet under the warm belly, with each pair’s somewhat mobile territory defined simply by pecking-distance. After hatching, parental duties continue to be equally shared by both sexes, with one staying on land to brood the chick while the other goes in search of food at sea. The Neck, Saunders Island, Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas.
- Neil Ever Osborne
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- King Penguins - Falkland Islands