Zoo Animals


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 and rockhopper 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.

The gentoo is recognized by the white stripe extending across its head and its bright red-orange bill. The bird also has paddle-shaped, peach-colored feet and fine feathers that help it glide easily and quickly through the water. It is the third-largest penguin species, after the king and emperor penguins.

Polk Penguin Conservation Center

Fun Facts

  • The gentoo penguin can often be seen "flying" out of the water and landing on its feet.

  • The gentoo penguin generally forages close to shore. It may make as many as 450 dives during a single day's foraging.