Happy Feet! A Million Penguins Flock to Argentina to Eat [VIDEO]
More than a million Magellanic penguins gathered in the shores of Argentina's Punta Tombo peninsula ahead of their annual migration. Locals say that the number is an all-time high and brought about by the unusually abundant supply of fish.
Best Months to Go Penguin Watching
According to a report from The Independent, tens of thousands of tourists flock annually to the peninsula to catch a glimpse of the feeding penguins, who have found an ideal home in the tiny islets of Punta Tombo. It has become the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in the world as the creature feeds on sardines, anchovies and small crustaceans that are plentiful in these Argentine shores.
While these warm-weather birds migrate as far as Brazil between March and September, they often come back ashore by September or October. Officials recommend tourists to visit after November, when the baby penguins are already born.
Named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, Magellanic penguins are identified by a broad crescent of white feathers that extends from above each eye to their chin. They also have a small spot of pink flesh on the face, plus a horseshoe-shaped stretch of black feathers on the front of their body. Magellanic penguins usually grow to roughly 70 centimeters (28 inches) tall.
Penguins Threatened by Human Activity
Despite the mind-boggling volume of the species in the Punta Tombo peninsula, Magellanic penguins are constantly threatened with human activities such as oil spills and commercial fishing, according to a report from the Argentina Wildlife Conservation Society.
Until the mid-1990s, over 40,000 Magellanic penguins die every year from oil spills. Nowadays, companies have taken steps to decrease the amount of pollution that contaminates the water, but one thousand to two thousand penguins still die annually from oil. They also get killed from entanglement in the nets of commercial fisheries.