and Their Predators
on Penguin Island
Our first landing on Penguin Island introduced us to the
Chinstrap Penguin. That's a great descriptive name for
this species. All the penguins we will see are small.
Penguins are very caring parents. Their fluffy
chicks lack Chinstrap markings. It's a dangerous
life, thanks to predators in the air and the water.
The chicks on Penguin Island must try to avoid
being grabbed and eaten when under aerial attack.
These brown birds are Skuas, who nest on Penguin
Island. As predators who can fly, unlike the penguins,
Skuas take to the air, hoping to dine on Chinstrap
Chicks. I have their attack on video.
The Chinstrap defense is to gather together, sound the
Skua alarm (a collective scream), and try to protect
the chicks with their beaks and wing flapping. While I
was filming, the defense held. But Skuas are the
greatest danger most penguin chicks face.
Leopard Seal. A penguin that survives long enough to
learn how to swim finds that going in the water is also
unsafe. The Leopard Seal preys on penguins who are
defenseless while swimming. Yet the penguins must
swim to catch their food, krill for Chinstraps. I filmed
penguin adults enter and exit the water in a panic out
of fear from Leopard Seals. Penguins swim using a
rapid dolphin-like motion, propelling themselves over
and under the sea, hoping to avoid becoming seal food.