The Gentoo penguins are natives of the Antarctica Peninsula, with their closest cousins being the Chinstrap and the Adelie penguins. Like their cousins and all other animals in this world, the Gentoo penguins are part of the Animal Kingdom, with the Phylum to which they are classified as that of a ‘Chordata.’ In the early 2000s, it was noted that the Gentoo populations were steadily declining due to environmental changes, but since 2018 their numbers have been back on the rise as they currently number to approximately 774,000 adults.
They can easily be distinguished from other penguin species by their distinctive white band across the eyes.
Their gestation period is 37 days, at which stage the mother lays two eggs. Chicks hatch around 80 -90 days after conception. Gentoos start actively seeking a partner during mating season at around 3 – 4 years of age, although there have been cases where they started producing offspring at two years. There are three mating seasons for the Gentoo penguin in any given year, beginning in June through August and ending in late November.
The Gentoos’ diet consists primarily of crustaceans (krill, crabs, and mollusks), fish, and small squid, as with all other penguin species. They can dive as deep as 200 m (650 ft) in search of food and, if need be, swim lightning fast to catch fish – they have been known to reach speeds of 36 km/ h (22 miles/ h).
They are the fastest swimmers among the world’s 18 total penguin species.