MNN Galleries

Penguin profiles: 10 fascinating flightless birds

Nov. 15, 2012, 6:32 p.m.
Adelie penguin feeding chick

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

3 of 12

Adelie penguin

Named after explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville’s wife, Adele, these penguins live on the Antarctic coast and can swim at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. The birds are easily recognizable by the distinctive white rings around their eyes and the fact that they’re mostly black with a white belly — giving them an appearance close to the stereotypical image of penguins.

Famous fowl

In 1911, explorer George Murray Levick observed the Adelie penguins' breeding cycle and was shocked by their “sexual deviance.” Homosexual acts, sexual abuse of chicks and attempts to mate with dead birds are recorded in Levick's paper "Sexual Habits of the Adelie Penguin," which was deemed too shocking for publication and was only recently discovered by London's Natural History Museum. Experts say the young penguins’ actions are due to sexual inexperience.