Chinstrap Penguins like Emperor Penguins, were also first described by Johann Reinhold Forster, who accompanied Captain Cook on his voyage of the HMS Resolution in 1772. They are characterized by their “chinstrap”, a narrow band of black feathers found just beneath their chins that extends from ear to ear. The word Penguin first appears in the 16th century as a synonym for the now extinct Great Auk. When European explorers discovered what are today known as Penguins in the Southern Hemisphere, they noticed their similar appearance to the Great Auk of the Northern Hemisphere and named them after this seabird, although they are not closely related. They stand about 76 centimeters tall and weigh about 4 kilograms. Like most penguins, Chinstraps often travel on land by “tobogganing” on their bellies, propelling themselves with their feet and flippers. Chinstrap Penguins are found in large colonies or “rookeries” along the coast of the South Orkneys, South Shetlands & South Sandwich Islands and in some smaller colonies on the Balleny Islands, south of New Zealand. Chinstrap Penguins are an abundant species in the Antarctic and sub-antarctic regions.
They are not considered a migratory species, however they do travel to north of the pack ice during the winter months from March through early May. Chinstrap Penguins feed on krill, small fish and other small crustaceans. These seabirds forage around the pack ice, although some have been observed foraging farther out to sea. They dive up to 60 meters for about 60 seconds. Adults are preyed on by Leopard Seals and their chicks and eggs are the prey of Skuas and Snowy Sheatbills. Females lay 2 eggs in November or December that are incubated by both the males and females for about 37 days. At about 7-8 weeks, the chicks fledge in late February to early March. Other penguin species give preferential feeding to stronger chicks, however Chinstrap Penguins feed both chicks equally.