Family Penguins (Spheniscidae)

Least Concern

Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)


French: Manchot d’Adélie German: Adeliepinguin Spanish: Pingüino de Adelia

Catarrhactes Adeliae

Hombron and Jacquinot

, 1841,

Adélie Land


Closely related to P. antarcticus. Monotypic.


Circumpolar in S; largely restricted to Antarctica.

Descriptive notes

70–71 cm; 3·8–8·2 kg. Short-billed medium-sized penguin with long tail. Adult has entire head to upper throat and upperparts black with bluish sheen... read more


Very noisy at colony. Main call, in display, a loud rolling “aar-rar-rar-rar-raaah”,... read more


Marine. Together with the Emperor Penguin, this is an 'ice obligate' species that... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly krill (Euphausia superba, Euphausia crystallorophias), with smaller quantities of fish, amphipods and cephalopods... read more


Arrival at colony Sept–Oct, most laying in Nov. Colonial, on occasion forming enormous aggregations of many thousands of pairs;... read more


Dispersive. Unlike most other species, adults do not moult at colony but, rather, on ice floes;... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). In 2012, listed for the first time as Near Threatened by BirdLife International based on research indicating that northern colonies... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez, I., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 January 2020).