Royal Penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli) collecting pebbles from the beach for building their nest. Macquarie Island, Southern Ocean, Australia.
Macqarie Island is the only place in the world where Royal Penguins are found. Any serious natural disaster could see the end of this species of bird.
This colony is situated on the side of a hill on a pebble patch surrounded by tussock grass, one of the 3 mega herbs which grow on Macquarie Island. There is little other vegetation due to the harsh sub-antarctic climate. The island has about 5 days of sunshine a year. The birds build their nests of pebbles in very close proximity to each other causing much squabbling, especially as birds find their way from the colony to the “Penguin Highway” to make their way out to sea to fish.
Canon EOS, zoom lens.
(Featured in Closeups in Nature and others.)
(1527 views at 18 September 2015)