Seven types of 'Happy Feet'

When days get shorter in the northern hemisphere people tend to head south during the  northern winter. Southern Hemisphere folk also head south as access to the wildlife of the Antarctic is only just beginning, and if you are thinking of booking a cruise to the white continent, you must consider the wide range of penguins you will see.

Out of the seventeen species of penguin on earth, only two actually survive in the inhospitable conditions of the Antarctic. Most other species live either on the Antarctic Peninsula or the Southern Hemisphere islands like South Georgia.

There are around seven species that you are likely to see on an Antarctic cruise. Here are just two of them. You will most likely meet others on your Antarctic tour!


The Macaroni Penguin

Flickr: Liam Quinn

The name of this penguin comes, of course from its strange head-gear. They are mostly found on sub-Antarctic islands, although one colony is found on the Antarctic Peninsula. Experts estimate there are around eighteen million individuals making it one of the largest species, although sadly there numbers are shrinking.

Macaronis are small, around 70 cms in length, and have a distinct feature - the yellow crest that extends back from the centre of their forehead. Interestingly, the female Macaroni penguin always lays two eggs, one slightly smaller than the other. However, the small egg almost never produces a chick, only hatching if the larger of the two is lost.


The Chinstrap Penguin

Flickr: Christopher Michel

The Chinstrap Penguin is found in the South Georgia Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland, South Orkneys and more. Their name comes from the black line below their heads which make them appear to be wearing a black helmet. They are common, with an estimated eight million pairs, found in colonies of over 100,000 at a time. Chinstrap penguins return to the same nesting site each year to mate with the same partner.

To see all of these penguin species and the amazing world that they inhabit, why not visit them on an Antarctic cruise? To learn more, visit this Antarctic cruise list.


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