Rock, No Roll, Gentoo Penguin Nest-Building Habits: Antarctica Explored, A Photo A Day

Penguin With Stone
A Gentoo penguin carries a pebble for nest-building. © 2014 Avid Travel Media Inc.

Gentoo penguins, like the one pictured here, are ground-nesting birds. It’s fun to watch the waddlers at work, gathering stones for their nests. You’ll see plenty of them, and plenty of them at work, on an Antarctic voyage.

A Gentoo couple, which often forms long-lasting bonds, is highly nurturing. At breeding time, for example, both parents will work to build an oval mound from stones, grass, moss, and feathers, a nest on which both parents take turns incubating eggs for more than a month. Eggs left unattended run the risk of being pilfered by Skuas, a scavenger bird. After the eggs hatch, chicks remain in the nest for up to a month, and the parents alternate foraging and brooding duties. According to National Geographic, an adult gentoo penguin makes as many as 450 dives a day foraging for food. Those amusing penguins: They’re always up to something.

Missed previous Antarctica Explored posts? Find them here.

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