Gentoo penguin surfing into shore on a wave

Gentoo penguin

Gentoo penguins are quite distinct from any other penguin, with the white stripe across the top of the head and bright orange bill. They are also better swimmers and divers than other penguins. Their super-streamlined bodies make them the fastest penguin underwater, able to reach speeds of 36kph, and they can dive to 170 metres down into the deep ocean. Gentoos breed in colonies in the harsh, cold climate of the islands surrounding the Antarctic, using nests made of stone and grass. Their droppings then fertilise the grass ready for the following year.

Scientific name: Pygoscelis papua

Rank: Species

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The Gentoo penguin can be found in a number of locations including: Antarctica. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Gentoo penguin distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Decreasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Sphenisciformes
  6. Penguins
  7. Brush-tailed penguins
  8. Gentoo penguin