Saturday, February 14, 2015

Let's talk about #Penguins; let's talk about love

Two penguins pucker up for Valentine's Day in a romantic show of affection on the remote island of South Georgia in the southern Atlantic.

The photograph of the amorous aquatic pair was captured on camera by Royal Navy photographer, leading engineering technician Richard Parry, serving on HMS Dragon, as the ship passed the island.
The besotted birds are part of a colony of penguins living in the British Overseas Territory and the timely picture of the kissing couple was released by the Ministry of Defence to mark the most romantic day of the year.

Penguins are considered to be mostly monogamous, with African and Magellanic, Gentoo and Royal penguins among those least likely to stray from their mates.

Many humans could pick up a few tips from penguins when it comes to their mating habits, as both male and female are involved in the preparation of the nest and the care of the chicks, behaviour that is seen in few species of animals.

However, there are some species, like the Emperor Penguin, which is serially monogamous; they have only one mate each year and stay faithful to that mate. However, fidelity between years is only about 15%.

The narrow window of opportunity available for mating appears to be an influence, as there is a priority to mate and breed, which often precludes waiting for the appearance of the previous year's partner.

Three years ago, a study into penguins' mating habits showed that marital harmony is thriving.
Research revealed that a pair of Magellanic penguins were among the most faithful in the animal kingdom, sticking together over a 16-year period, despite spending thousands of miles apart during their winter trips.

The findings were made after a 30-year study of the breed, where researchers placed metal identity bands on the flippers of 50,000 birds on the southern coast of Argentina.

Previously, penguin relationships were believed to span a maximum of just 10 years, with many cut short by the unexpected death of birds during migration.


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