Monday, August 27, 2012

Penguin Party: The Korora and the Magellanic

Today's post is devoted to two of the seventeen (debatably a lower number) of the extant penguin species, the Korora (commonly known as the little blue penguin, the blue penguin, the little penguin, or the fairy penguin), and the Magellanic penguin.  What's the connection with these two penguins?  Well, not really anything, except for the fact that we had just talked about the Korora in a post a few weeks ago, and I had found a few funny videos of both the Korora and the Magellanic! 

The Korora is actually believed to be fairly closely related to the Magellanic penguin, compared to most of the rest of the penguins.  Despite the differences in their genus (the Magellanic belongs to the genus "Spheniscus" and the Korora to the genus "Eudyptula,") most scientists believe that the Eudyptula penguins (only one extant, but likely extinct ones) were the last ones to diverge from the Spheniscus genus. 

As we talked about a few weeks back, the Korora is labeled as "Least Concern" by the IUCN, and inhaibts Australia and New Zealand, as well as a few other random islands in the vicinity.  Interestingly enough, the Korora has also been reported in Chile and South Africa, although the probability of these animals being vagrants (essentially, lost) is quite high.  However, most penguinologists are certain that many populations of penguins started out as vagrants, so who knows!  It is how they would get from one place to another. 

The Penguin Parade (see below) is a major tourist attraction.
The penguin parade.  Photo Credit Mark and Julie Neher
HERE is a link to a clip talking a bit about the Penguin Parade.  The clip talks a bit about the work done by the rangers and scientists regarding the Korora, including ranger Ashley Belsar.  For over thirty years, since 1968, this research team has been recording information about the penguins as they come ashore.  An interesting statistic that I learned from this video is that the average penguin spends about 80% of its life in the ocean!

And for those of you who want something a bit more"cutesie," HERE is a video of Cookie, the Korora, being tickled by humans at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio!

Native to the South American countries of Chile, Argentina, and occasionally Brazil, the Magellanic penguin is one of four of the Spheniscus genus of penguins, including the African, Humboldt and Gal├ípagos penguins.  Labeled as "Near Threatened" by the IUCN, somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 of these penguins are killed each year by oil spills, which has resulted in their decreased IUCN status.

Next, we have two amusing Magellanic penguin videos.  The FIRST is of a Magellanic on a plane, and the SECOND is a trio of Magellanics who accidentally knock over the camera that is filming them.  Enjoy!

Now, we have a few really cute pictures of some of the Magellanic penguins from Sea World: Orlando in Florida!  The second two photos are from a publicity thing where some people from Sea World: Orlando brought some Magellanics to the Star newsroom!  How cute!

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