Playful or Precocious? A Gentoo Chick, Pygoscelis papua, with a stick in its mouth while it is being nurtured on the nest by its parent. Trinity Island, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula.
This is a really unique sight, especially as Gentoos make their nests from pebbles!!!!
(Featured in Love These Creatures, & Other Groups.)
Gentoos breed on many sub-Antarctic islands. The main colonies are on the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Kerguelen Islands; smaller populations are found on Macquarie Island, Heard Islands, South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. The total breeding population is estimated to be over 300,000 pairs. Nests are usually made from a roughly circular pile of stones and can be quite large, 20 cm high and 25 cm in diameter. The stones are jealously guarded and their ownership can be the subject of noisy disputes between individual penguins. They are also prized by the females, even to the point that a male penguin can obtain the favors of a female by offering her a nice stone.
Canon 500D, zoom lens.