Antarctic Penguins_ A Study of Their Social Habits
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THE HEART OF THEANTARCTIC. Being a Story of the BritishAntarctic Expedition, 1907–1909. By SirE. H. Shackleton, C.V.O. With Introduction byHugh Robert Mill, D.S.O. An Account ofthe First Journey to the South MagneticPole by Professor T. W. Edgworth David,F.R.S. 2 vols., crown 4to. Illustrated withMaps and Portraits. 36s net. Edition deLuxe, with Autographs, Special Contributions,Etched Plates, and Pastel Portraits. £10 10snet. New and Revised Edition. With ColouredIllustrations and Black and White. Crown 8vo,6s net.
SHACKLETON IN THEANTARCTIC. (Hero Readers.) Crown8vo, 1s 6d.
LOST IN THE ARCTIC. Beingthe Story of the “Alabama” Expedition. ByCaptain Ejnar Mickelson. Crown 4to. Illustrationsand Maps. 18s net.
IN NORTHERN MISTS. ArcticExploration in Early Times. ByFridtjof Nansen. With numerous Illustrations andColoured Frontispieces. 2 vols., cr. 4to, 30s net.
LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN
A STUDY OF THEIR SOCIAL HABITS
DR. G. MURRAY LEVICK, R.N.
ZOOLOGIST TO THE BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION[1910–1913]
First Published March 1914
Second Impression May 1914
LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN 1914
|THE FASTING PERIOD||17|
|DOMESTIC LIFE OF THE ADÉLIE PENGUIN||51|
|McCORMICK'S SKUA GULL||125|
|A SHORT NOTE ON EMPEROR PENGUINS||134|
|“Occasionally an unaccountable ‘broodiness’ seemed to take possession of the penguins”||Frontispiece|
|To face p.|
|An angry Adélie||2|
|Waking up, stretching, and yawning||4|
|Heavy seas in the autumn||8|
|“throw up masses of ice”||10|
|“which are frozen into a compact mass”||10|
|“and later, form the beautiful terraces of the ice-foot”||14|
|Penguins at the rookery||14|
|In the foreground a mated pair have begun to build||20|
|The rookery beginning to fill up||22|
|“The hens would keep up this peck-pecking hour after hour”||24|
|An affectionate couple||24|
|“Side by side … nests of very big stones and nests of very small stones”||26|
|On the march to the rookery||28|
|Part of the line of approaching birds, several miles in length||30|
|Arriving at the rookery||32, 34|
|A cock carrying a stone to his nest||36|
|Several interesting things are taking place here||38|
|Three cocks in rivalry||40|
|Two of the cocks squaring up for battle||40|
|Hard at it||42|
|The end of the battle||42|
|Cocks fighting for hens||46, 48|
|Penguin on nest||48|
|Showing the position of the two eggs||50|
|An Adélie in “ecstatic” attitude||50|
|A nest with stones of mixed sizes||54|
|“Hour after hour … they fought again and again”||56|
|A nest on a rock||58|
|“One after another, the rest of the party followed him”||58|
|A joy ride||60|
|A knot of penguins on the ice-foot||62|
|An Adélie leaping from the water||64|
|An Adélie leaping four feet high and ten feet long||66|
|Jumping on to slippery ice||68|
|“When they succeeded in pushing one of their number over, all would crane their necks over the edge”||70|
|Diving flat into shallow water||72, 74, 76, 78|
|A perfect dive into deep water||80|
|Sea-leopards “lurk beneath the overhanging ledges”||82|
|A sea-leopard's head||84|
|A sea-leopard 10 ft. 6½ in. long||86|
|A young sea-leopard on sea-ice||86|
|“With graceful arching of his neck, appeared to assure her of his readiness to take charge”||88|
|“The chicks began to appear”||90|
|An Adélie being sick||90|
|Method of feeding the young||92|
|Profile of an Adélie chick||94|
|A task becoming impossible||96|
|Adélie with chick twelve days old||98|
|A couple with their chicks||100|
|Adélie penguins have a strong love of climbing for its own sake||102|
|Adélies on the ice-foot||104, 106, 108|
|“An imprisoned hen was poking her head up”||110|
|“Her mate appeared to be very angry with her”||110|
|“When she broke out, they became reconciled”||112|
|Adélie nests on top of Cape Adare||112|
|“Leapt at one another into the air”||130|
|A Skua by its chick||130|
|An Emperor Penguin||134|
|Profile of an Emperor||136|
The penguins of the Antarctic regions very rightlyhave been termed the true inhabitants of thatcountry. The species is of great antiquity, fossilremains of their ancestors having been found,which showed that they flourished as far back as theeocene epoch. To a degree far in advance of anyother bird, the penguin has adapted itself to the seaas a means of livelihood, so that it rivals the veryfishes. This proficiency in the water has beengained at the expense of its power of flight, butthis is a matter of small moment, as it happens.
In few other regions could such an animal asthe penguin rear its young, for when on landits short legs offer small advantage as a meansof getting about, and as it cannot fly, it wouldbecome an easy prey to any of the carnivora whichabound in other parts of the globe. Here, however,there are none of the bears and foxes which inhabitthe North Polar regions, and once ashore the penguinis safe.
The reason for this state of things is that there isno food of any description to be had inland. Agesback, a different state of things existed: tropicalforests abounded, and at one time, the seals ranabout on shore like dogs. As conditions changed,these latter had to take to the sea for food, with theresult that their four legs, in course of time, gaveplace to wide paddles or “flippers,” as the penguins'wings have done, so that at length they becametrue inhabitants of the sea.
Were the Sea-Leopards(2) (the Adélies' worstenemy) to take to the land again, there would be aspeedy end to all the southern penguin rookeries.As these, however, are inhabited only during fourand a half months of the year, the advantage tothe seals in growing legs again would not be greatenough to influence evolution in that direction. Atthe same time, I wonder very much that the sea-leopards,who can squirm along at a fair paceon land, have not crawled up the few yards of ice-footintervening between the water and some ofthe rookeries, as, even if they could not catchthe old birds, they would reap a rich harvest amongthe chicks when these are hatched. Fortunatelyhowever they never do this.
When seen for the first time, the Adélie penguingives you the impression of a very smart little manin an evening dress suit, so absolutely immaculate ishe, with his shimmering white front and black backand shoulders. He stands about two feet five inchesin height, walking very upright on his little legs.
His carriage is confident as he approaches you overthe snow, curiosity in his every movement. Whenwithin a yard or two of you, as you stand silentlywatching him, he halts, poking his head forwardwith little jerky movements, first to one side, thento the other, using his right and left eye alternatelyduring his inspection. He seems to prefer usingone eye at a time when viewing any near object,but when looking far ahead, or walking along,he looks straight ahead of him, using both eyes.He does this, too, when his anger is aroused,holding his head very high, and appearing to squintat you along his beak, as in Figure 1.