Are there Penguins in South America?
Yes, penguins are endemic in South America. Amongst the 17 species of living penguins, there are about seven species of penguins living in South America. As we all know penguins are the habitat of Southern Hemisphere, it is also clear that South America is mostly a part of the Southern hemisphere.
Penguins spread in sovereign states like Argentina, Chile, Peru and non-sovereign area like the Falkland Islands, other islands like Galapagos Islands and sometimes South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are also considered to be a part with South America, which is also the places where penguins reside.
The species of penguins found in South America include Humboldt penguins, Southern Rockhopper, Macaroni penguins, Galapagos penguins, King penguins, Magellanic penguins and Gentoo penguins.
The range of the penguins found from the hottest north to the coolest southern regions of South America. Places and the species of penguins widespread in South America are in the following.
Chile has a diverse collection of penguins living. In Chile you can find four different species of penguins like Humboldt, Magellanic, Macaroni and Rockhopper. It has a huge number of breeding sites in and around. The Penguins’ population in Chile is said to stable when compared to Falkland Island.
But the colonies in Chile are not apt for tourists to reach and experience the mighty revelation of the penguins. There are sites in Chile that can offer the sight of penguins; Playa Mar Brava, Magdelena Island, and Seno Otway.
Humboldt penguins range on the Pacific coast of Peru. The range of Humboldt penguins is from the south of the Galapagos Islands to the western coast of Peru.
Argentina has four species of penguins- Magellanic, Macaroni, Gentoo and Southern Rockhopper penguins. Magellanic penguins found in the Peninsula Valdez in Argentina.
The population of Magellanic penguins in the northern part of Argentina is declining even though, the other part of Argentina has rising colonies overall. Apart from Peninsula Valdez, there are other few places where we can find Magellanic species are Punta Tombo, Cabo Virgenes, Puerto Deseado, and Monte Leon.
Along with Chile, Argentina has a total of 9 breeding sites which are not in reach for tourists. When it comes to Gentoo penguins, they have very few breeding colonies in Argentina; one is on Staten Island and other is on Hammer Island, both having very few populations of the species. Hammer Island is a place that can be easily reached by tourists.
Southern Rockhopper penguins are in increasing numbers in Staten Island colony.
Commercial fishing has reduced Gentoo penguins in Falkland Island. In spite, they survive due to their easy food adaptability.
Rockhopper penguins declined to about 90% due to commercial fishing and now the status is recovered slowly.
Macaroni penguins are very less in Falkland Island and they breed in the Rockhopper colonies. Magellanic penguins are not doing well in Falkland Island, where they have declined to about 90%.
King penguins are in around seven breeding sites in Falkland Island.
The only penguin species live in the north of the equator are the Galapagos penguins. They are not found anywhere else except the Galapagos Island. This special penguin species have seen the decline of around 77% due to pollution, overfishing and climatic changes and diseases caused by introduced species like dogs.
South Georgia, Prince Edward, Crozet Island, South Sandwich Islands:
South Georgia and Sandwich Islands are present in the south of Atlantic Ocean. Bird Island in South Georgia has penguin sites for the tourists to visit.
King penguins which are the second largest species in the world are in large numbers in South Georgia. After King Penguins, Macaroni penguins are also found in big numbers, making the largest breeding population of the species in the world.
Prince Edward Island has large pairs of Macaroni, King, Gentoo penguin and Eastern Rockhopper penguin; with the largest population of Macaroni penguins which are present around 400, 000 breeding pairs.
The Crozet Islands are the small sub-Antarctic islands that are present in the Southern Indian Ocean. King penguins, Eastern Rockhopper, and Gentoo penguins are living in the Crozet Islands with the less number of Gentoos and Eastern Rockhopper and a large number of King Penguin pairs.
There are many beautiful sites for the tourists to have a look at the adorable flightless birds over the region of South America. The numbers have drastically reduced in the last two decades, is because of commercial fishing, human interference, climatic changes and water pollution.
There are many measures taken by the government and bird lovers to conserve the penguin species in South America, and which has been a success to 10 % increase in the certain population of the species.