Which penguins can we find in Chile?

From the magnificent Emperor Penguin, to the charismatic Macaroni Penguin, several species of penguins have turned our national territory into their home.

Ibacetavejar | Flickr
Ibacetavejar | Flickr

The different climates and ecosystems of Chile have allowed several species of penguins to inhabit our territory. These flightless birds tend to live in cold waters and due to the currents that affect our country, Chile has become an ideal place for their development and reproduction.

Humboldt penguin

This species lives in places that are affected by the Humboldt current, in the Pacific Ocean. In Chile, is possible to find them from the Arica and Parinacota Region to the Chiloé Archipelago. Worldwide, Chile has the biggest colony of this kind of penguin, which is located in a national reserve dedicated to the protection of it, in the Coquimbo Region.

Isolated penguin of Humboldt on the rock stone

King penguin

It is the second largest species within the penguin family and a migratory bird that can be found from the subantarctic islands to the antarctic circumpolar waters. As an exception, Chile has a small colony that inhabits the Inútil Bay (Tierra del Fuego), where the King Penguin Park is located.This park was inaugurated in 2011 in order to protect and shelter the limited population of this species in the area.

King Penguins at Fortuna Bay

Southern rockhopper penguin

As one of the smallest type of penguins, on average they reach a length of 55 cm and a weight of 3.35 kg. They are easily recognisable by their yellow feathers located at the level of their eyebrows. Colonies of this species are found in the Diego Ramirez Archipelago, Noir Island and Ildefonso Island, all of them in the southern end of our country.

Rockhopper Penguinand Black-browed Albatross

Macaroni penguin

Similar to the Southern rockhopper penguin, the Macaroni penguin is also recognised by its long eyebrows, but this species’ feathers are orange. In Chile, they are found in the southernmost islands, but due to its migratory characteristics they can also be found in antarctic areas.

Three macaroni penguins

Adélie penguin

It is known as the white eyed penguin, nickname given to it due to the white border that surround its eyes and that stands out even more because of the black colour of its head. This species only inhabits the antarctic continent, but in rare occasions it can be found in some surrounding islands.

Penguin back and penguin front

Chinstrap penguin

One of the easiest penguins to identify due to the unique colours of its head, highlighting the thin black stripe that borders its face; similar to a helmet. This specimen lives in different parts of the southern hemisphere, but in Chile it is distributed between the southern extreme continental y and our Antarctic territory.

Chinstrap Penguins on an Antarctic beach

Gentoo penguin

It is asily recognised because of white mark above its eyes, and known as the fastest species under water, reaching a 36 km/h speed. In Chile, and during its migration period, they are found in the subantarctic islands of the southernmost part of our country.

Gentoo Penguin jumping in the water

Magellanic penguin

Also know as Patagonian penguin, this species lives in the patagonian coasts and islands of our country, but during winter they tend to migrate to warmer climates, even reaching the coast of the Peruvian territory. The biggest of this species in the national territory can be found in the Magdalena Island, which has over 60.000 specimen in average.


Emperor penguin

The largest penguin of all, reaching over 120 cm and weighing between 20 and 45 kilos. It is the only species of this family that reproduces during the winter, walking between fifty and one hundred and twenty kilometer through ice in order to reach their colonies. It is possible to find them in the Antarctica, including the territory over which Chile has sovereignty.

Emperor Penguin with chick

Little Penguin

This small specimen does not live in the Chilean territory, but it is considered a frequent visitor of the central coast of our country. It owns its name to its small size, reaching no more than 45 centimeters and making it the smallest penguin of all species. Different to other penguins, its feather are of a dark blue colour, instead of black; a feature that gave it the name of “Blue Penguin”.

Blue Penguins

This post is also available in Spanish