Thursday, 26 January 2012

"White" Albino-like Penguin Found in Antarctica

Rare white penguin spotted in Antarctica: In a sea of atramentous and white penguins waddling on Antarctica’s Aitcho Islands, National Geographic Explorers spotted an acutely rare, about all-white Chinstrap penguin this week.

This rare all-white Chinstrap penguin stands out against his friends as he takes his morning waddle around Antarctica.

The unusual bird was photographed by naturalist David Stephens during a nature expedition to the Aitcho Islands. Chinstrap penguins' normal black-and-white colouring provides them with camouflage while they dive for fish.

This rare all-white Chinstrap penguin stands out against his friends as he takes his morning waddle around AntarcticaThis rare all-white Chinstrap penguin stands out against his friends as he takes his morning waddle around Antarctica

The penguin was spotted during a nature expedition to  AntarcticaAll white: The penguin was spotted during a nature expedition to Antarctica

The condition known as leucism only occurs in around 1 in 146,000 penguinsRare: The condition known as leucism only occurs in around 1 in 146,000 penguins

The condition which causes the whiteness is known as leucism. It differs from albinism which is a total lack of skin pigment.

Mr Stephen, who works aboard Lindblad Expeditions' National Geographic Explorer ship, wrote in the daily expedition report: 'At the water’s edge stood a leucistic Chinstrap.

'This bird was whitish, but not quite an albino. Instead, it had pigmented eyes and a washed-out version of a Chinstrap’s normal pattern.

'Many wondered about this unusual bird’s chances of success. While odd coloration may make fishing a bit more difficult, leucistic birds are regularly found breeding normally.'

Chinstrap penguins' black and white colouring camouflages them when they dive for fishBlending in: Chinstrap penguins' black and white colouring camouflages them when they dive for fish

The unusual bird was photographed by naturalist David Stephen who works aboard Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer shipThe unusual bird was photographed by naturalist David Stephen who works aboard Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer ship

white-penguin_1682192iRare white penguin spotted in Antarctica

Dyan deNapoli, a penguin expert and author of 'The Great Penguin Rescue, said the rate of leucism in Chinstrap penguins is about 1 in 146,000.

He added: 'It is a fairly rare phenomenon. When I was in Antarctica, I never saw one, and I saw a lot of penguins.'

Lindblad Expeditions is a travel company which works in partnership with National Geographic, providing trips to both poles.

Spokeswoman Patty Disken-Cahill said: 'Expedition photography is a big component of our expeditions.

'The photography that comes out of our ships is pretty spectacular.'

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