Photo: Punta Tombo Penguin Couple Has Been Together (and Monogamous) for 16 Years
A pair Magellanic Penguins was recently discovered to have been together for 16 years.
Magellanic Penguins only breed in Chile, Argentina, and the Falklands Islands. Occasionally, some migrate to Brazil and have been as far north as Rio de Janeiro.
With this species’ natural lifespan lasting just 20 to 25 years after they first begin mating – 30 for those in captivity – being together and monogamous for 16 years is impressive.
According to ANI, penguin relationships were previously believed to span a maximum of just 10 years, with many cut short by the unexpected death of birds during migration. Add the fact that will
Punta Tombo, a peninsula located south of Argentina’s Chubut Province, is believed to be home to the largest nesting colonies for Magellanic Penguins.
Researchers discovered the long-paired penguin couple after placing metal identity bands on the flippers of 50,000 penguins from Punta Tombo.
With the additional help of satellite tracking in the last year, researchers were able to determine that not only had the penguin lovebirds been together for 16 years, but they had remained monogamous.
Each winter, the male and female migrated to the warmer waters of Brazil individually, yet every Spring they returned to their same nest and more impressively to each other.
Despite this discovery however, it does not change the fact that the Magellanic Penguin population has seen a dramatic dropped in the last 22 years, almost 20 percent.
Magellanic Penguins have been classified as a “threatened species,” as large breeding colonies off the coast of Argentina are being threatened by oil spills, which kill about 20,000 adults and 22,000 juveniles every year.