Gentoo penguins typically are found along the shoreline. This allows the penguins to be able to quickly access food while remaining close to their nest. They prefer elevations close to 115 meters above sea level along the shore because the snow in these areas tends to melt first. The higher the altitude, the decreased likelihood of nest-flooding as the snow starts to melt during the summer. The terrain in these areas is also flat which helps to stabilize their nests. Gentoo penguins prefer north-facing locations for nesting, which is thought to be linked to absorbing solar radiation. The main feature of gentoo habitats is the prevalence of small pebbles, typically under 5 centimeters in diameter. These pebbles are the main building blocks in creating a sufficient nest to hold the eggs during breeding season.
Gentoo penguins also spend some of their day underwater for feeding excursions. These aquatic trips are typically short; the longest dive on record is only two minutes long. Gentoos typically dive down only 3 to 20 meters, with occasional deeper dives up to 70 meters.
Average elevation: 115 m.
Range depth: 3.5 to 70.0 m.
Average depth: 9.0 m.
Habitat Regions: polar ; terrestrial ; saltwater or marine
Terrestrial Biomes: tundra ; icecap
Aquatic Biomes: coastal
- Adams, N., C. Brown. 1983. Diving depths of the gentoo penguin (pygoscelis papua). The Condor, 85: 503-504.