Chinstrap penguins on nests in snow
 - Pygoscelis antarctica

Chinstrap penguins

Called Chinstrap penguins because of their characteristic band of dark feathers under the chin that appears to be keeping their dark hats on, these are the smallest of three species of Pygoscelis penguins. They average about 4.5kg and 68cm tall, according to the books they are particularly noisy and aggressive, infiltrating and taking over Adelie colonies, though from what I saw of them I would put them behind Adélies in aggression and volume.

This picture was taken in a chinstrap colony during a spring snow-fall, all of the penguins at least had eggs and many had chicks so the adults on the nests had to play the parental role to the full protecting the young from the cold by laying down and occasionally getting up to shake off the accumulated snow. It stopped snowing shortly after this and the temperature being just above freezing, the snow melted fairly quickly and so posed little or no danger to the young on this occasion.

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Photo copyright - Paul Ward /