<< Previous Next >>

Everyday Life in a King Penguin Colony

Everyday Life in a King Penguin Colony
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2001-12-28
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1vHS, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM, Fuji Provia 100
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Penguins (Spheniscidae), Penguins in the Wild [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-23 5:07
Viewed: 4461
Points: 38
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This will be my last posting for a few days as I am flying out to Syria for a short holiday tonight (why – because I have not been)!

I took this image on a rocky outcrop overlooking the massive (c500,000) King Penguin colony on Salisbury Plain. I chose this shot, which I took with my 70-200 2.8 lense (may have been the 300 2.8 – not sure), rather than posting a more general image, showing the mountains etc., because I thought it conveyed the crowded nature of the colony. What is does not convey is the smell – the breath-taking, eye watering smell of guano and also (as I suffer very slightly from asthma) the choking effect of millions of penguin feather-filaments in the air.

The King penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second largest penguin. It is sometimes confused with the larger Emperor penguin. There are two subspecies - A. p. patagonicus and A. p. halli; patagonicus is found in the South Atlantic (these) and halli elsewhere. The King penguin lives on islands far to the north of the Antarctic continent where the Emperor penguin lives. The King penguin has orange ear patches that are a closed tear-drop shape; while the Emperor penguin has a yellow open ear patch shape. Adults are 90 cm tall and weigh about 15-16 kg. They are found on many sub-Antarctic islands including Crozet, Prince Edward , Kerguelen, South Georgia and Macquarie Islands. Total population is estimated to be 1 million breeding pairs.

The male king penguin incubates the egg much as male Emperor penguins, but the King penguins do this during the warmer summer season, when food is more available. Once the egg is laid, the male will care for it. The female goes to the open sea and will return in about 21 days to take her turn keeping the egg warm. The male will only go about 1 month without food. The chick hatches in about 54 days. The chick is cared for by both parents for 30 to 40 days. At this time it joins a crèche for warmth and protection from predators.

South Georgia lies between 35.47' to 38.01' west and 53.58' to 54.53' south within the Polar Front being surrounded by the ice cold waters that flow up from Antarctica(South Georgia is at about the same latitude relative to the South Pole as the North of England is to the North Pole). The tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego is 2,150 kilometres to the west. The Falkland Islands (Malvinas) are closer, but still 1,390 kilometres away to the west. The mountain ranges and the precipitous southern coast shield the northern facing bays from the fierce prevailing winds and depressions that roar in from the Drake Passage to the west and Antarctica to the south.

NB my previous posting 'The Three Graces of South Georgia' was taken from exactly the same place - just turning my head 180 degrees. I posted that as Antarctica however.

PaulH, cicindela, marjan, jaycee, ramthakur, JPlumb, horia, Necipp, SunToucher, garyfudge, SelenE, delic has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-05-23 6:12]

Hi James,

fantastic shot, there's so much going on it's amazing! Reminds me a bit of the London Stock Exchange...and is certainly alot different from the Salisbury Plain near where i live! Enjoy Syria, looking forward to your posts.



Dear James!
Before I will write a comment to this photo a one simple question: how many penguins are on the picture? ;>
And now more serious ;) I like the POV and composition which clearly show how huge the colony of this species is. Very informative note too!
Have a nice day and fruitfull travel to Syria!

hi James, wonderful shot. Nice composition , if I can tell it composition. :-))
interesting and useful notice. TFS

  • Great 
  • Seiei Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 21 W: 0 N: 30] (127)
  • [2007-05-23 8:30]

Hi james ^^

now we need to found were is Charlie :)
Nice catch, well done

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-05-23 11:11]

Hi James,

An amazing shot! You managed to show so much detail in each penguin. Wonderful colors in that crowd - the yellow stands out.

Have a good trip!


Looks like the congregation of well attired gentlemen, James :-).
Despite the large number of these Penguins in view, there is a fine pattern to the entire composition.
Thanks for sharing this interesting picture.

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-05-23 18:10]

Hello James, a very powerful image of this "city", they all dressed up in their best tuxedos for the photo..hehehe..
Very good POV, and composition..well done my friend and have a safe trip, can't wait to see the pictures from Syria..

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-05-23 22:21]

Hello James

This would make good wallpaper,or a jigsaw puzzle.The Sheer numbers are boggling.Well done!TFS Have a great ,and safe,trip.


Hi James, very cool shot of these King Penquins. The group shot works very well. Very nice repetition of the colour and formal detail of these guys.

Thanks, John

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-05-24 5:44]

Hi James

Good luck for your Siria trip! A great reasn to go there :) Have you ever considerred Romania, because i see you don't have any shots from here either? ;)

Anyway, another splendid shot from you! 137 lovely King Penguins!............... :)) you didn't really think i counted them, did you? :)) Just playing...

Anyway, this really is a beauty and a marvelous set of contrasts and colors.
I'm sure it's nothing compared to actually being there, but for us who are still to see them with our own eyes, it's great!

Cheers and TFS

Hello James this is great work really looks amazing fine DOF and sharpness throughout I love the way they look randomly walking. Have a nice trip tfs rgds Necip.

nice photo effect

Hi James,
What an amazing photo. I've never seen that many penguins at one place, well actually I've never seen them in wild. I also have never seen such a frame filling composition of this lovely birds. The wonderful thing about such a photo is that you keep looking at it, discovering new things each time. Have lots of fun in Syria, and I am looking forward to some wonderful photos

Hi James,

great shot. Ilove the hustle and bustle feel of this.
It's totally manic!
Look forward to seeing Syria!


  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-05-28 4:41]

Wow what a crowd! :o) Excellent POV and composition James. Very well done!
Hope you have a nice time in Syria. Bon voyage

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-05-29 15:43]

Hello James,
Amazing crowd. Wonder how they can walk without bumping into one another. Captured with great sharpness and color. Ciao,

Fantastic penguin patterned picture. Absolutely love it in everyway. Great lighting has resulted in a nice exposure showing super color and details. Very nice James.

Hello James,
I won't even mention the repetition effect!
Amazing photograph, showing a glimpse of the society these birds are living in...
A fantastic image and very well done!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • reina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 257 W: 1 N: 330] (2032)
  • [2007-07-07 13:23]

WOOOOOOOWWWW even double...

Calibration Check