Gentoo penguin

Pygoscelis papua

At the Detroit Zoo
The gentoo penguins can be seen at the Polk Penguin Conservation Center – the largest penguin facility in the world – along with the king, macaroni, rockhopper and chinstrap penguins. A unique circular pool lets the birds swim continuously, giving them the ability to swim fast enough to porpoise and “fly” through the water. The Detroit Zoo is one of the few zoos where penguins can display this natural behavior.

Gentoos are recognized by their white stripes extending across their heads and their bright red-orange bills. These birds also have paddle-shaped, peach-colored feet and fine feathers that help them glide easily and quickly through the water. Gentoos are the third-largest penguin species, after the king and emperor penguins.

Polk Penguin Conservation Center

Fun Facts

  • Gentoo penguins can often be seen "flying" out of the water and landing on their feet.

  • Gentoo penguins generally forage close to shore. They may make as many as 450 dives during a single day's foraging.