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Magellanic penguins

The southern part of Chile is a great place to view Magellanic penguins, the vivacious South American little birds. The Magellanic penguin is distinguished from the Humboldt and African penguins by the two bands that cross its front, one a wide black strip under the chin and the other a horseshoe shape on the stomach. The penguins are naturally shy and nest in deep burrows. The penguins often hide if approached, but keep quiet and you will not be disappointed, as they will quickly come waddling out.

If you time it right, the penguins, some of the only black and white breeds you will see outside Antarctica can be observed chasing between the beach and their nests.

The 60-centimeter tall animals feed on a diet of squid and small schooling fish. It is very easy to spend a good two hours just watching the amusing antics of these loveable birds.

The best time to see these creatures is during the breeding season from late September to early February, when adults spend much of their time on the beach constructing the nesting sites. It takes five to six weeks for the eggs to hatch and spotting chicks is rare as they usually hide out in the burrow for a month or so before being prepared for the sea and taking their first icy plunge sometime around April.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Chile: Wildlife: Plants and Animals, Patagonia Species, Chile's National Flower, Flora and Fauna in Chile, Flora and Fauna in the Reserva Nacional Lago Palena and Easter Islands wildlife and flora.

08 Jul 2009

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