Elusive yellow penguin captured by camera in South Georgia


Courtesy of Yves Adams (Facebook)

The bird’s pale coat is believed to be caused by leucism, a genetic condition affecting the pigment.

Wildlife photographer Yves Adams captured an image never taken before: a yellow penguin. The bird was photographed in South Georgia, where the Belgian photographer was on a multi-month expedition in December 2019. This is believed to be the first official photo of the animal on record.

According to The independent, the meringue-colored bird was spotted in the large Adams king penguin colony and its crew was documenting. His eyes fell on its strange yellow hue as he unwrapped security supplies.

“I had never seen or heard of a yellow penguin before. There were 120,000 birds on that beach and that was the only yellow there, ”Adams said. The independent. “They all looked normal except this one. It was really something else. It was an incredibly unique experience. “

The penguin’s light shade is likely caused by leucism, a genetic condition that affects the levels of melanin needed to create pigments. Species affected by the disease have pale skin, hair or plumage. So instead of wearing his brothers’ classic black and white tuxedo, the penguin instead claimed a sunny yellow hue.

Unlike albinism which is a total absence of pigment, leucism results in incomplete coloring which does not always impact the whole body. The Australian Antarctic Program notes that the condition can be expressed over a spectrum, ranging from single feathers to entire coats.

South Georgia has had its fair share of unusual animal sightings. In April 2019, National Geographic have reported king penguins and pale-toned fur seals that were filmed by photographer Jeff Mauritzen. Both animals had light brown coats probably caused by a rare genetic mutation.

While there is debate over the cause of its pale coloring – it’s a mix between leucism and albinism among experts, who suggest tests may be in order – there’s no denying that this penguin is a sight to behold. and a treat for nature lovers around the globe.

“It was the paradise he landed by us,” Adams said. “If it had been 50 yards, we wouldn’t have been able to get this spectacle of a lifetime.”

Have you ever seen king penguins in person? Would you ever travel to South Georgia to see them? Let us know in the comments.


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