The odd one out.

We often get the question how old penguins (or other birds or animals) can get. For biologist not really relevant, it is a lot more relevant to know until what age they can reproduce, but most people are no biologists. Of course, this is difficult to tell as it is difficult to follow individual penguins. With scientific ringing programs one can find out, but sometimes there is this odd individual that sticks out and can be followed for a long time.

Leucistic Gentoo Penguin at Waterboat Point


At Waterboat Point there is a leucistic Gentoo Penguin. This means the animal does make pigment, in contrast to an albinistic one, but not enough. This results in a more diluted colouration, with less pigment throughout the body. The black parts turn more into a chocolate brown colour. Two years ago this animal was present at this place and I even seem to remember a leucistic one 12 years ago. It is, of course, possible that this is a different leucistic individual, but I wouldn’t find it unlikely as this individual is already over 12 years old…

The other members of the colony don’t really seem to care by the way. In some years he is paired and he’s just a normal member of the penguin community.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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