Adélie Penguins

When you think of a penguin, do you think of a black and white suit? The Adélie penguin is the penguin you probably think of. Adélie penguins are easy to recognize. They have white "shirt" fronts and black "coats." They have white rings around their eyes. Their bills are short and are partly covered by feathers. Their long, stiff tails drag on the ground when they walk. Adélies live in Antarctica and on its nearby islands. Adélie penguins are quite small. They are the smallest penguins living in Antarctica. Adults are between eighteen and thirty inches tall. They weigh around ten pounds.

Unlike most penguins, Adélie penguins were not named for their looks (such as yellow-eyed penguins). They were not named after their nesting sites (such as Peruvian penguins). They were not named for their habits (such as rockhopper penguins). Instead, they were named by a French explorer. He came to Antarctica in the 1830s. While he was there, he saw thousands of these little penguins. He named them after his wife, Adélie.

In October every year, Adélies form breeding colonies. They choose an ice-free, rocky beach. Great colonies or groups of the birds gather there. Once a male Adélie penguin finds his mate, the two of them start collecting pebbles and small stones to build a nest. If they can't find enough building supplies, they steal from their neighbors!

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