Monday, September 13, 2010

What's Happening: The First Molt

This is a coming of age story. As penguin chicks fledge, they loose their downy feathers for their first set of waterproof feathers. At this point they are considered juvenile penguins and for most species of penguins their juvenile feathers are a different color or pattern than the adults.

Here are some pictures of juvenile African and southern rockhopper penguins compared to adults.

Juvenile African penguins

Adult African penguin

Juvenile rockhopper penguin

Adult rockhopper penguin

When a juvenile penguin is between a year and a half to two years old, they will go through their first molt. (Click here and here to learn more about how adult penguins molt!) This molt is unique because the new feathers that grow in will have the adult color pattern. For us, it is exciting to see how the penguins will look "all grown up".

Robben's juvenile feathers

Robben mid-molt

Robben all grown up!

Pebble's juvenile feathers

Pebble mid-molt

Pebble's adult plumage

- Andrea

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