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New Gentoo PenguinCam video shows penguin’s point of view

The PenguinCam video offers an unprecedented first-person view of a Gentoo penguin harvesting sardines and other fish off the coast of Argentina.

The incredible footage was filmed in the Beagle Channel off Martillo Island. It was there, in Tierra del Fuego, in Argentina, that the Wildlife Conservation Society through its Argentine program, has been protecting penguins for the past two decades. WCS, along with their partners, used this dedicated PenguinCam to better understand the feeding ecology of gentoo penguins (Pygoskelis papua).

The result is quite remarkable as it shows a male gentoo penguin hunting sardines and other fish during a single feeding session. Sardines can be seen huddling together in tight clusters in a desperate attempt to evade predators.

Penguins aren’t the only species on the hunt, as diving cormorants and albatrosses can also join the fray. Andrea Raya Rey, WCS Argentina Research Fellow at CADIC-CONICET, said she and her colleagues were “fascinated to see the Beagle Channel seabird community feeding on this amazing swarm of sardines,” she explained at WCS. Press release. The team has previously claimed that Beagle Channel seabirds depend on sardines, “but this is the real proof, and now it’s been confirmed by the star behind the camera: the penguins,” Raya Rae added.

It looks like the penguin did well on his hunting trip, devouring sardines with impressive skill. The camera did not seem to interfere with his eating. Gentoo penguins love to hunt for prey at the bottom of the sea, but new footage shows they won’t hesitate to take bait along the way.

Penguins, as the video demonstrates, are incredibly skilled swimmers, demonstrating great speed and agility in the water. These semi-aquatic creatures are clearly made for the ocean, but like birds they still need to lay their eggs on land. Hence their need to retain at least some earth ability, even if it makes them clumsy as hell on land.

Gentoo penguins on land, including a male with a PenguinCam strapped to his back.

Gentoo penguins on land, including a male with a PenguinCam strapped to his back.
Photo: Sabrina Harris/WCS

Like the previous one research reveals that Gentoo penguins make strange buzzing noises while feeding, which they probably do to keep the hunting pack together and increase their chances of catching prey.

The CONICET-CADIC team mounted a camera on the back of a penguin, hoping to compare the feeding ecology of gentoo penguins in Argentina with the yellow-eyed penguin (Megadip antipodes) New Zealand. The joint project also involved the Antarctic Research Foundation and the Tawaki project, which donated PenguinKam.

The researchers removed the camera from the penguin’s back after just one feeding session and then carefully observed the bird to make sure it was okay, which it was. According to the WCS release, the bird continued to fulfill its parental responsibilities, including taking care of the chicks.

More: In 2019, extreme heat killed hundreds of Magellanic penguins in one day..


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