Emperor penguins may be flightless, but as this 2011 shot reveals, they're perfectly adapted to their semi-aquatic lifestyle. These penguins can dive more than 1600 feet (500 meters) down for up to 12 minutes. After a completed hunting spree, the birds launch themselves back onto the ice like feathery torpedoes. Image credit: Dr. Paul Ponganis, National Science Foundation
To call his mate, a male Adélie penguin uses a tried-and-true formula: flap flippers, tilt head to sky, then cut loose with a braying screech of a love song. It’s called an ecstatic call, and among penguins, it’s contagious. “One starts, and pretty soon everyone’s doing it,” said ecologist David Ainley. Ainley, who studies Adélie colonies in Antarctica, worked with a reporting team from WHOI during a 2007 Polar Discovery expedition at Cape Royds on Ross Island. (It is also sitting on an egg!)
This image is of a snowy sheathbill at Anvers Island, Antarctica. Snowy sheathbills are scavengers, acquiring much of their nourishment by stealing food already caught by penguins and shags or by eating human refuse. For this reason, they frequently live close to gentoo and chinstrap penguin or shag colonies. They primarily live around the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Sheathbills can grow to 40 centimeters (16 inches) in length with a wingspan of 79 centimeters (31 inches).
Jackass or African Penguin. This flightless seabird is found nowhere in the world except off the coast of southern Africa, thus making it endemic to this area. It breeds on 24 offshore islands between Namibia and Port Elizabeth, including Dassen, Dyer, Jutten and Robben Island in the Western Cape region of South Africa and Boulders Beach and Betty's Bay near Cape Town. Nesting on the mainland is unusual for jackass penguins because they are ground-nesting birds and are vulnerable to the many predators on the mainland.
A mother giant petrel watches while her baby is weighed by US Antarctic Program participant Ryan Wallace. Program participants assist scientific research in the Palmer Station area. Giant petrels can reach almost 40 inches in length (100 cm) with wingspans reaching 80 inches (205 cm). Bird surveys are conducted to track population numbers, size, and other characteristics.