what do adelie penguins eat

What Do Adelie Penguins Eat? – Adelie Penguin Diet

November 16, 2017
1 min read

Like other penguins, the Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) has a carnivorous diet. The penguin likely eats Antarctic silverfish, glacial squid, Antarctic krill, sea krill, and ice krill. The adelie penguin’s diet however varies with the season as well as with the geographic location. Their diet mostly consists of fish especially during the chick-provisioning days. Let’s see what do Adelie penguins eat in the wild.

What Do Adelie Penguins Eat?

Over the last 100 years the overall population of baleen whales and Antarctic fur seals has been on the decreasing trend. It indeed increases the population of a krill. Thus penguins can now afford to hunt krill ever than before so they don’t have to compete with the predators anymore.

Studies show that the adelie penguins had begun consuming krill as early as 200 years. Thousands of years back adelie penguins fed almost entirely on fish. Furthermore, Baleen whales and Antarctic fur seals are thought to be the main predators of krill.

The crystal krill (Euphausia crystallorophias) is probably the most favored prey of an adelie penguin. It makes up more than 60% of the penguin’s diet.
what do adelie penguins eat
Chelsea Tischler — National Geographic Your Shot

Adelie penguin diet also consists of jellyfish especially those that belong to the genera Cyanea and Chrysaora. Scientists however do not exactly know why adelie penguins choose to capture such a potentially dangerous prey.

The crystal krill (Euphausia crystallorophias) is probably the most favored prey of an adelie penguin. It makes up more than 60% of the penguin’s diet.

The second most favorite fish is the Antarctic silverfish which is nearly 39% of the adelie penguin’s overall diet. During deep diving the adelie penguin is most likely to feed on E. superba krill whereas in fishes they will eat myctophid more readily than the nototheniid (P. antarcticum). Therefore adelie penguins are not thought to be the krill predators—they are generalist predators instead.


Ainley, David; The Ad lie Penguin: Bellwether of Climate Change: Columbia University Press, 2002.

S.D. Emslie; W.P. Patterson (July 2007). “Abrupt recent shift in δ13C and δ15N values in Adélie penguin eggshell in Antarctica”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (28): 11666–11669. doi:10.1073/pnas.0608477104. PMC 1913849 Freely accessible. PMID 17620620.

I am a contributing author and co-founder of animalsanswers.com. Every now and then i find myself hooked to my laptop researching and trying to discover new species of animals.

Latest from Blog

Cane Rat (Thryonomyidae)

Cane rats are robust rodents with stocky bodies, small ears, and short tails; body covered with sharply pointed, but pliable, spiny hairs; broad, heavily built orange-colored chisel-shaped incisors, with the upper ones grooved longitudinally at the front. They will make habitats in grasslands and wooded savanna. What Do Cane Rats…

What Do Antbirds Eat?

Antbirds (Formicariidae) are small to medium-sized songbirds with short, rounded wings, a short or long tail, and a stout or slender bill slightly hooked at the tip, feed on insects on the ground or in trees or thickets; prey is usually gleaned from foliage, although some species also catch flying…

Where Do Mountain Beavers Live?

Mountain beavers do not hibernate and so are active throughout winter. They are primarily nocturnal but are frequently active for short periods during the day. Mountain Beaver Habitat Habitats used by mountain beavers vary, but are typically forests with dense patches of herbs and shrubs. This vegetation supplies not only…

What Do Pangolins Eat?

Pangolins love munching on bugs, especially ants and termites. They sniff out their insect feasts, and sometimes the big pangolins go for the larger bugs. What’s on the menu can change depending on what’s available or the time of year. What Do Pangolins Eat? Pangolins can be a bit choosy,…

Proper Nutrition for Pets

Pet care is a complicated topic, as it is challenging to come to a single opinion. However, most owners will agree that the choice of food has a substantial impact on the condition of cats and dogs. Since much depends on the correct determination of needs, it is worth paying…
Go toTop