Monday, 6 July 2009


Patagonia is a geographic region containing the southernmost portion of South America. Located in Argentina and Chile, it comprises the southernmost portion of the Andes mountains to the west and south, and plateaux and low plains to the east. The name Patagonia comes from the word patagón[1] used by Magellan to describe the native people whom his expedition thought to be giants. It is now believed the Patagons were actually Tehuelches with an average height of 1.80 m (~5'11") compared to the 1.55 m (~5'1") average for Spaniards of the time.

To the east of the Andes, it lies south of the Neuquén River and Colorado rivers, and, to the west of the Andes, south of (39°S), excluding the Chiloé Archipelago. East of the Andes the Argentine portion of Patagonia includes the provinces of Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego, as well as the southern tips of the provinces of Buenos Aires, Mendoza and La Pampa. The Chilean portion embraces the southern part of the region of Los Lagos, and the regions of Aisén and Magallanes. It excludes those portions of Antarctica claimed by both countries.

The Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus, is a South American penguin, breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil. It is the most numerous of the Spheniscus penguins. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Humboldt Penguin and the Galápagos Penguin.

Magellanic Penguins are medium-sized penguins which grow to be 61-76 cm (24-30 in) tall and weigh between 2.7 kg and 6.5 kg (5.9-14.3 lbs), with the males being larger than the females and weight dropping while each parent nurtures its young.

Adults have black backs and white stomachs. There are two black bands between the head and the breast, with the lower band being in an inverted horseshoe shape. The head is black and has a broad white border running from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, and joining on the throat. Chicks and juveniles are grey-blue on their backs, with a more faded grey-blue color on their chest. In the wild, Magellanic Penguins can live up to 25 years, while ages of 30 years have been reached in captivity.

Young birds usually have a blotched pattern on their feet, with this 'blotching' fading as they age. Older birds of over ten years usually have solid black feet.

Like the other species of penguins, the Magellanic Penguin has very rigid wings used to 'fly' under water.

No comments: