The Adelie Penguin is a small sized species of penguin that along with the Emperor Penguin, is the only penguin species that is found on the Antarctic Mainland. They are the smallest and most widely distributed penguin species in the Southern Ocean.
Named in 1840 by French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville after his wife, the Adelie Penguin is easily recognised with a blue-black back and head, white underside and a distinctive white ring that circles each eye. They also have pink, webbed feet that help them to swim and move around on land.
The Adelie Penguin is a seasonal migrant that spends the colder winter months hunting for food on the ice-platforms in the seas to the north, before returning south to the rocky coastal beaches to breed in the warmer months of the Antarctic summer.
They are highly sociable animals that form large colonies and in fact, the half a million strong colony on Ross Island is one of the largest animal colonies in the world. They make their nests on rocky, ice-free land out of rocks in which the female will normally lay two eggs.
Whilst filming for the new BBC series Frozen Planet, the cameras managed to film the behaviour of one individual that was clearly and cunningly stealing rocks from another nest in order to construct it's own. This remarkable theft has never been seen before amongst Adelie Penguins and shows a high degree of opportunism from the individual in question.
The first episode of the new BBC series Frozen Planet was aired on BBC One on Wednesday at 9pm. The criminal activity of this Adelie Penguin will be shown in the second episode next week.