Before driving the last 425 km to Ushuaia we had one stop on our way. The king penguin colony at Parque Pinguino Rey just 95 km from Porvenir. Here up to 150 King penguins can be seen in their nesting and resting site. The park is on the banks of River Marrazi. As far as we know, this is the only place, where it is possible to drive to and see King penguins at Tierra del Fuego.
The king penguin colony at Parque Pinguino Rey
The king penguin the second largest species of penguin, only exceeded by the emperor penguin in size (in total there are 18 penguin species around the world). The plumage of the king penguin is broadly similar to that of the closely related emperor penguin, with a broad cheek patch contrasting with surrounding dark feathers and yellow-orange color at the top of the chest. However, the cheek patch of the adult king penguin is bright orange whereas that of the emperor penguins is white, while the chest orange tends to be more vivid and less yellowish in the king species. The king penguin stands at 70 to 100 cm (28 to 39 in) tall and weighs from 10 to 12 kg (21 to 40 lb). Males are slightly larger than females.
King penguins can repeatedly dive to over 100 metres (300 ft), and have been recorded at depths greater than 300 meters (1,000 ft). The king penguin’s average swimming speed is 6.5–10 km/h (4–6 mph). The penguins have large legs and walk with their wings open to maintain balance.
King penguins breed on the subantarctic islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica, called South Georgia, as well as Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands, and other temperate islands of the region, which all lay between 45 and 55°S. The total population is estimated to be 2.23 million pairs and is increasing. They have a lifespan of 25 years.
The penguins don’t built nests, and lay just one egg. If they success, they will lay two eggs during a 3 year period (the reproductive success rate is 20-84%). The incubation time is 54-60 days. After the egg has hatched, the new born penguin chick has a rearing period of 300-390 days followed by 21-28 days with chick fledging. The penguin has finally reached the stage of adulthood, and reach the reproductive age after 3-6 years.
Both parents feed the chick
The moult period (chick feldging)
We said goodbye to the King penguins, it was amazing to see them, they are so beautiful. We crossed the border into Argentina, and the road were paved again. Tomorrow we will reach Ushuaia.