Adélie Penguin Facts With Pictures & Video: Online Zoo

This page contains amazing Adélie Penguin facts for kids (and adults). This animal is part of the Active Wild Online Zoo: information, pictures and videos of all your favorite animals!

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Adélie Penguin Quick Facts For Kids

  • Scientific name: Pygoscelis adeliae
  • Type of Animal: Bird
  • Animal Family: Spheniscidae
  • Where Found: Entire coastline of Antarctica & some nearby islands.
  • Height: 70cm (2.3ft). Males and females are a similar size and difficult to tell apart.
  • Weight: Between 3 and 6kg (6.6 and 13.2lbs)
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Other Interesting Facts: The Adélie penguin was named after Adélie Land, a region of Antarctica. The region itself was named after the wife of French Antarctic explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville, whose name was Adéle.

Virtual Zoo: Watch Adélie Penguins In The Wild

Watch the video below to see the Adélie penguin in the wild:

The Adélie Penguin: Introduction

The Adélie penguin’s upright stance and black and white plumage make it look like a little man dressed up for a night at the opera.

Although it appears rather clumsy-looking on land, the Adélie penguin is an excellent swimmer. It ‘flies’ through the water using its flippers as wings.

You can find out more about its awesome swimming abilities further down the page.

How To Recognize An Adélie Penguin

Adélie Penguin
The Adélie Penguin can be identified by its white eye ring.

The Adélie penguin is a medium-sized penguin. Its distinguishing features are white rings around each eye, and a pink bill, the base of which is covered by short black feathers.

Where Do Adélie Penguins Live?

The Adélie penguin is one of five species of penguin that lives on Antarctica. (The others being the emperor, gentoo, chinstrap and macaroni penguins.)

The Adélie penguin is found all around the coast of Antarctica. It lives on the sea ice which surrounds the continent, and stays close to the sea as the ice expands in the winter.

Adélie penguins may migrate up to 8,000 miles (13,000km) a year as they travel between their summer breeding grounds and winter feeding grounds. Some have been known to undertake even longer voyages, traveling almost 11,000 miles (17,713km) in a year.

What Do Adélie Penguins Eat?

The Adélie penguin’s diet consists mainly of fish, ice krill (also called crystal krill), and Antarctic Krill.

(Krill is a small crustacean that is found in oceans all around the world. In the Southern Ocean, the Antarctic krill is an important source of food for animals of all sizes, including whales!)

Adélie penguin Facts: Diving & Swimming

The Adélie penguin walks – okay, waddles – at around 1.5mph (2.5km/h). However, it can cover surprisingly long distances in this way. It will also save energy by sliding on its front, pushing itself along with its flippers and claws.

However, it’s in the water that the Adélie penguin is most at home. It is an extremely accomplished swimmer. Most of the time it swims at between 4 and 8 km/h (2.5 and 5 mph), but it is able to reach speeds of up to 15 km/h (9.3 mph) when hunting or fleeing from a predator.

The Adélie penguin has been recorded diving to depths of up to 175m (574ft.). When feeding, its deepest dives are usually around 70m (230ft.)

The Adélie penguin’s feeding trips last from 5 hours to three days. During this time it can venture 93 miles (150km) from the shore.


Adelie Penguin on nest
Adelie penguin on its nest

The Adélie penguin breeding season runs from October to February: spring to summer in Antarctica.

Adélie penguins leave the unpredictable summer sea ice in the spring and come onto land to nest. Here they form large breeding colonies, which can number many thousands of birds. The largest colonies contain over half a million penguins.

An Adélie penguin nest consists of a rough pile of pebbles. Adélie penguins mate for life, and return to the same nest each year. When courting, the male presents the female with a pebble. If his gift is accepted, the two form a lifetime bond.

The female Adélie penguin lays two eggs, which the parents take turns to incubate. The eggs take around 1 month to hatch. Once the chicks have hatched, the parents take turns to guard the nest while the other goes to sea to find food. The chicks are fed with food regurgitated by the parent birds.

At around 3 weeks old, the chicks are big enough to be left on their own. At around 2 months, they are ready to go to sea themselves.

Adélie Penguin Predators

The Adélie penguin’s main predator is the leopard seal. It is also occasionally targeted by the killer whale. An additional danger to Adélie penguin chicks comes in the form of seabirds such as skuas.

Adélie Penguin Conservation Status & Threats

The Adélie penguin’s conservation status on the IUCN Red List has recently (2016) been downgraded from ‘Near Threatened’ to ‘Least Concern’. The Adélie penguin population is rising, and it is thought that there are around 7.5 million mature Adélie penguins alive in the wild.

However, the Adélie penguin’s future is far from secure, as it is heavily dependent on the unpredictable Antarctic sea ice.

Adélie Penguin Questions

Q1. Who or what is the Adélie penguin named after?

  • a) The boat that carried the first explorers to Antarctica
  • b) A region of Antarctica which itself was named after the wife of a French Antarctic explorer.
  • c) A town in France

Q2. How many eggs do Adélie penguins usually lay?

  • a) 10 to 20
  • b) 1
  • c) 2

Q3. Where does the Adélie penguin live?

  • a) The coast of Antarctica & surrounding islands
  • b) Near the North Pole
  • c) The Bahamas

(Answers at bottom of page.)

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Adélie Penguin Facts For Kids Answers: Q1) B, Q2) C, Q3) A

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