Not By The Hairs On My Chinny Chin Chinstrap Penguin!

When I was a younger lad I had the pleasure spending time in Australia doing conservation work in different eco-friendly areas and during that time I was luckily enough to fall in love with some of the world's cutest birds.  They were called Little Penguins or Little Blue Penguins and after meeting this cuties I began to pay more attention to the world of penguins.  The world has around 23 species of these chubby ice torpedoes and they are all equally special.  This week animal of the week is the Chinstrap Penguin which gets it's name for the stripe it has going across is chin, which funnily enough looks like a pin beard you would find on a boy band member.  Chinstrap Penguins are beautiful birds that can weigh as much as 12 lbs and stand around 30 inches tall. They are colored with the typical penguin colors, showing off they wonderful tuxedo look.

Chinstrap Penguins have a circumpolar distribution which means that the are found in the high latitude regions of the world like the North and South Poles.  Luckily Chinstrap Penguins are currently considered least concern from a conservation stand point and although constricted to the poles they are widely distributed in these higher latitude regions.  Like the majority of penguins, chinstraps are excellent swimmers and evolved many adaptations for life in the ocean. When in the water they are able to use their powerful feet to propel through the water like a rocket and use these skills to hunt down any fish, krill, shrimp and squid that they are lucky enough to encounter.

Chinstrap Penguins are also a valuable member of the food chain and help to supply some of the oceans predators with food.  Leopard Seals are among the group of predators that are known to feed on the tasty penguins.  There are numerous other predators that feed on them as well, including birds that are known to feed on helpless babies, which includes species like sukas and petrels.

Chinstraps are not the most well known species of penguins, but are starting to find themselves in the news lately due to their population size decreasing, which is has decreased as much as 70% size the normal population size that was recorded in in 1979.  It is stated by researchers that the reasons for the population declines come from the ice retreating and a decrease in krill populations.  We are going to be learning about more penguin species which you can read about in the Kids Zone', but if you want continue learning about birds, then head over to the Bird Center!  You can also learn more about Chinstrap Penguins by heading to the Animal of the Week tile!   See you there defenders!

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