Gentoo penguin Gentoo penguin - ImagesGram

Gentoo penguin

The gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) is a penguin species in the genus Pygoscelis, most closely related to the Adélie penguin and the chinstrap penguin. The earliest scientific description was made in 1781 by Johann Reinhold Forster with a reference point of the Falkland Islands. They call in a variety of ways, but the most frequently heard is a loud trumpeting which the bird emits with its head thrown back. The gentoo penguin is easily recognized by the wide white stripe extending like a bonnet across the top of its head and its bright orange-red bill. It has pale whitish-pink webbed feet and a fairly long tail – the most prominent tail of all penguin species. Chicks have grey backs with white fronts. As the gentoo penguin waddles along on land, its tail sticks out behind, sweeping from side to side, hence the scientific name Pygoscelis, which means 'rump-tailed'.


The application of gentoo to the penguin is unclear. Gentoo was an Anglo-Indian term to distinguish Hindus from Muslims. The English term may have originated from the Portuguese gentil ("pagan, gentile"). Some speculate that the white patch on the bird's head was thought to resemble a turban.
It may also be a variation of another name for this bird, "Johnny penguin", Johnny being Juanito in Spanish and sounds vaguely like gentoo. The Johnny rook, a predator, is likely named after the Johnny penguin.[

The specific name papua is a misnomer; in the original description, Johann Reinhold Forster, a naturalist who had circumnavigated the world with Captain James Cook, mistakenly assumed that the species occurred in Papua (New Guinea), the closest gentoos actually being over 6000 km to the south (on Macquarie Island). There are no penguins in New Guinea, however. Others trace the error to a "possibly fraudulent claim" in 1776 by French naturalist Pierre Sonnerat, who also alleged a Papuan location for the king penguin despite never having been to the island himself.