OPEN 365 DAYS A YEAR & FREE

Location, Hours & Directions

OPEN 365 DAYS A YEAR & FREE

Location, Hours & Directions

Chinstrap Penguin Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Pygoscelis antarctica
  • Class

    Birds
  • Order

    Sphenisciformes
  • Range

    Antarctica and surrounding islands

  • Status

    Common. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Chinstrap Penguin Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

  • Habitat

    Rocky islands, ice fields and icebergs

  • Niche

    Like all penguins, the chinstrap penguin is flightless; the bird's reduced wings are used to quickly paddle through the water. The chinstrap penguin's primary food item is krill, a small crustacean, although it will hunt fish as well.

  • Life History

    Male and female chinstrap penguins cooperate in rearing their young. The birds build large stone nests to house their eggs, which males and females take turns incubating in shifts lasting 5-10 days. After chicks hatch, the parents travel to the ocean in shifts to obtain food to bring back to the nest. Chinstrap penguins live and rear their young in large social groups; some chinstrap penguin colonies can include millions of birds.

  • Special Adaptations

    • The chinstrap penguin is able to withstand swimming in freezing waters due to its tightly packed feathers, which provide a waterproof coat. Thick blubber deposits provide insulation as well, and blood vessels in the flippers and legs have evolved intricate structures to preserve heat.
    • The chinstrap penguin's black-and-white plumage helps camouflage it in the water from predators, such as seals. When seen from above, the bird's black back blends into the dark water below, while the bird's underside blends into the sunshine above when seen from below.

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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 Get Map/Directions Call 312-742-2000

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