All About Falkland Islands Penguins

Are you thinking about going on a trip to the Falkland Islands to see penguins? If so, look no further. In this article, we’ll be talking penguin! To be sure, there are 17 species of penguins. Indeed, penguins live in many places. But, for this article, we’re going to talk about where you can find penguins in the Falkland Islands.  

Five types of penguins inhabit the Falkland Islands.  

  • Gentoo Penguin
  • King Penguin
  • Magellanic Penguin
  • Southern Rockhopper Penguin
  • Macaroni Penguin

Where Do You Find Penguins

Although many people think penguins only live in Antarctica, you can find penguins all over the southern hemisphere. Surprisingly, penguins even live in places that aren’t necessarily cold or icy.  To be sure, in Antarctica, you will find Adelie & Emperor Penguins. But, in general, penguins inhabit islands in remote regions that are free of land predators. Also, only the Galapagos Penguin lives north of the equator, in the Galapagos Islands. Further, different cruises offer you the opportunity to see some of the penguins’ species, well as their chicks. Also, many of these cruises stop in Stanley, in the Falkland Islands.

What Penguins live in the Falkland Islands?

The Falkland Islands have become a popular tourist destination, due to their unique wildlife. Indeed, the wildlife that inhabits the Falkland Islands makes it a popular attraction and delights visitors with a beautiful penguin, seal, and albatross populations. 

The Falklands have a unique sub-Antarctic ecosystem and host more than 220 species of animals. For example, you will find various birds, penguins, seals, seabirds, sea lions, whales, dolphins, and even whales and dolphins.  And, while the Falkland Islands are rich in wildlife, the roughly 1,000,000 penguins are the main attraction.  There, five penguin species make the Falkland Islands their home, including the Macaroni, King, Magellanic, Gentoo, and Southern Rockhopper

If you want to see adorable babies with ~500,000 breeding pairs, visit the Falklands in December and January. Indeed, it’s the best time to see the fluffy penguin chicks. The bird population on the islands grows every year, with a total of 1 million penguins in the Falkland Islands alone. 

Where is the largest penguin colony in the Falkland Islands?

There are three main places to find penguin colony’s in the Falkland Islands.

Volunteer Point

Volunteer Point is the home to the largest King Penguin colony in the Falkland Islands, with a population of over 150,000 breeding pairs of penguins. 

Gypsy Cove

Gypsy Cove is just 6.5km away from Stanley, Falkland Islands. There, you will find mostly Magellanic penguins.

Bluff Cove

Andrea and I visited Bluff cove in January 2020. As a result, this is the site of our video footage for the penguin video. Indeed, we came from the Coral Princess cruise ship.

Bluff Cove is a sea inlet. You can find it on the east coast of the island.  

Let’s dig in and discover all the penguins that inhabit the Falkland Islands.

Gentoo Penguins

a Pair of Gentoo Penguins

Gentoos are the second most common penguin species found on the Falkland Islands and are the second most prevalent species in South America and South Asia. 

It’s the type of Antarctic penguin first described by the researchers and naturalists who accompanied Captain Cook. 

Also, Gentoo’s live in groups of up to 10,000 penguins per square kilometer.  There, on the Falkland Islands, they share their colonial territory with other species such as sea lions, sea turtles, seals, and other birds of prey. 

The Gentoo Penguin is a small bird that measures about 70-95 cm tall and weighs an average of 5.5 kg. 

You can identify the Gentoo penguin by the white stripes running from the head to the bonnet. Interestingly, they have a reddish-orange beak and brown eyes, and their feet are yellow or orange. 

Gentoo Penguins breed in the Falkland Islands. Also, they breed on the Antarctic Peninsula, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and South America. 

Gentoo penguins, like many other penguin species, raise two chicks a year, as opposed to one, and breed in pairs. Also, male and female Gentoo penguins take turns hatching eggs that last between 34 and 37 days. 

They swim at speeds of up to 35km/h, the fastest recorded for a penguin. 

Scientists estimate the total (worldwide) breeding population is 387,000 pairs. Also, Gentoo’s breed in pairs. 

King Penguins

King Penguins

King penguins are known as the second-largest penguin species in the world, with a height of 70-100cm and a weight of 11-16kg. To be sure, they are born as fully-fledged chicks. To be sure, the largest of the penguin species is the Emperor Penguin.

Early explorers and seals called the chicks “woolly penguins” because the thick brown kittens looked like the wool of a sheep. Indeed, the fluffy chicks were so popular that the early European explorers called them a distinct species, which they called the “woolly penguin.” 

Young King Penguins are not as colorful as adult king penguins Penguins because they look very different from their chicks. 

Spotting a King Penguin

In the sea, immature king penguins and emperor penguins can be confusing as they look similar. However, King Penguins have a spoon-shaped mark on the back of their head, while emperor penguins have an orange mark in the middle of their head and red on their tail.

The breeding process of king penguins takes place when they are between 3 and 6 years old, and the females are not always successful in mating. Still, those who do not reproduce in the previous year often go back the following year. 

During their breeding season, king penguins form large breeding colonies. Also, to protect their colonies from predators, the king penguins do not build nests. Instead, they hold the egg on the tops of their feet to keep it safe and warm.

Other birds can attack the penguins and take away their eggs and young penguin chicks. Also, other than sea lions and killer whales, there are no creatures that eat King Penguins. 

Falkland Islands Magellanic Penguins

Magellanic Pengiuns in the Falkland Islands

The Magellanic Penguin got its name from the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. However, it was the Italian explorer Antonio Pigafetta, who circumnavigated the world in the 1520s, that got credit for having first spotted the species.

In terms of body size, the Magellanic Penguin is about 70cm tall and weighs about 4.5kg.  

In 2004, the Magellanic Penguin was listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the European Union (EU). 

Scientists believe Magellanic Penguin swim up to hundreds of miles to feed on fish, such as anchovies and sardines. Further, oceanographic features show that when the Magellanic penguin returns to its nesting site in spring, it swims along the coast. 

The Magellanic Penguin typically stays on the continental shelf of Argentina. But, after the end of the breeding season, they migrate south to the southern coast of South America, where they swim hundreds of miles along the coast. 

Magellanic Penguins are one of many penguin species that face threats to their survival. Interestingly, and unlike their relatives, they spend much of their lives in the sea. To be sure, they are not immune to the effects of climate change. 

Magellanic Penguin Colonies

Magellanic Penguins gather to form vast breeding colonies. The males come early and make sure that other opportunistic penguins do not try to move into their caves. Further, the penguins begin to arrive and mate in September, and egg-laying starts in October. 

It is the most common penguin species in the world and, with a population of about 3,000,000. In the Falklands, the Magellanic Penguin population is about 260,000.

Magellan penguins swim in the waters off the continental shelf and breed in colonies along the coast or on islands. Still, adults spend the year at sea and rarely come ashore. 

The penguins most abundant in southern Chile, are medium in size and can survive in the wild for up to 25 years at this size. 

Unfortunately, they are facing a threat from a growing number of invasive species, and sweltering heatwaves caused by climate change that could accelerate its decline. 

 Southern Rockhopper Penguin

Southern Rockhopper Penguin found in the Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are home to the world’s largest population of Southern Rockhopper penguins.

With a population of over 320,000, Southern Rockhopper Penguins are the most common penguin species in the Falkland Islands.

Southern Rockhopper Penguins usually hunt in shallow water but can dive to a depth of 100 meters. And, they eat predominantly fish, krill, and small crustaceans. 

Rockhopper penguins are migratory birds and return to the Falkland Islands every summer. Then, the birds migrate to Volunteer Point, where they number over 150,000 breeding pairs.

Rockhoppers come and go at different times of the year and arrive in late March or early April before the chicks can feed themselves. 

Macaroni Penguins in the Falkland Islands

The Macaroni Penguin is the most populous penguin species worldwide, with a population of over 24 million, in 260 colonies.

Depending upon age and sex, the Macaroni Penguin is approximately 70 cm tall and weighs 4 – 7 kg. 

However, if you’re looking for Macaroni penguins in the Falkland Islands, you’ll have to look hard! To be sure, only 24 of these birds are known to live in the Falklands.

Macaroni Penguins generally live in small, water-bound areas of Kerguelen, South Georgia, Crozet, Heard, and McDonald.

You might identify Macaroni Penguins by their long crest of yellow-orange feathers contrasting with black feathers on the head. Also, their eyes are red, the large beak orange-brown, and there is a large white spot on the back of the neck and a small spot in the upper part of the tail. 

The breeding colonies of the macaroni penguins are often upwards of 100,000 penguins. Indeed, they are among the largest and densest of all penguin species. In the Falkland Islands, there are only about 24 Macaroni Penguins who inhabit the area.

Macaroni Penguins eat a varied diet, consisting of krill, and fish, which vary depending on the location and season. 

During the cold winter months, the Macaroni Penguin spends most of its time fishing in the ocean. Also, the colder oceans offer better protection from the bitter conditions of the Antarctic winter on land. 

Penguin Fun – FAQ

Q: What is the Falkland Island penguin population?

A: There are over 500,000 breeding pairs of penguins in the Falkland Islands.

Q: When is World Penguin Day?

A: April 25.

Q: Do penguins fall over when planes fly overhead?

A: No. Scientists tested the theory in 2001 following 700 test flights and a cost of USD $30,000.

Q: Are there Falkland Islands penguins tours

A: Yes, many tours will take you to Volunteer Point, Gypsy cove, or Bluff cove.

Q: What animal eats penguins?

A: Killer whales and Sea Lions.

Q: Are Penguins nice to humans?

A: Generally, penguins tolerate humans. But don’t get too close, or try to touch them. Their beaks are sharp, and they’ll use them!

Q: What are baby penguins called?

A: Chicks, or nestlings. Generally, most people refer to baby penguins as chicks.

Q: Do penguins have teeth?

A: No. A penguin is a bird, and no bird has teeth. Their beaks, however, are very sharp. So, be sure to give a penguin their space if you see one.

Q: How long do penguins live for?

A: Different species live longer. For example, the Magellanic penguins can live 30 years.

Q: How long can penguins stay underwater?

A: For most penguins, an average dive is about 6 minutes. But, the Emperor penguin can dive as much as 20 minutes.

Q: Where do you find penguins?

A: Aside from the Falkland Islands, and with one exception, you can find penguins in the Southern Hemisphere. In the northern hemisphere, you can discover Galapagos penguins in the Galapagos Islands, just north of the equator.

Q: Where can you see penguins?

A: In the southern hemisphere, you can see penguins generally in a cove, close to water.

Q: What do penguins eat?

A: Larger penguins eat fish. Smaller penguins eat mainly krill. Also, both eat squid and sardines.

Q: Do penguins fall over watching airplanes?

A: No. Scientists tested the theory in 2001 following 700 test flights and a cost of USD 30,000.

Q: Do penguins live in the arctic?

A: No. Except for the Galapagos Penguin, all penguins live in the southern hemisphere.

Q: Do polar bears eat penguins?

A: No. Polar bears live in the northern hemisphere (the arctic), and penguins live in the southern hemisphere.


Which is your favorite pengiun? Leave a comment below!


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One Comment

  1. Mmm long article but interesting…would love to be up close to a penguin one day.. seem such interesting animals..I learned a few things.. never heard of macaroni penguins before.. good info

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