Penguins of the north

By: Arjen Drost

Aug 22 2010

Tags: , ,

Category: Birds, Movie, Polar

Leave a comment

Aperture:f/7.1
Focal Length:420mm
ISO:400
Shutter:1/160 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Brünnich’s Guillemot at Alkefjellet

When I show this picture to people who haven’t been to the Arctic, I often get the question: “Ah, you have also seen penguins? I thought there were no penguins in the Arctic.”. The latter is true, there are no penguins in the Arctic. If this were penguins, they would really have a problem coming up these ledges. These are Brünnich’s Guillemots, part of the Auk family. The similarity between auks and penguins is a great example of convergent evolution. Two not related families evolve in the same way, because this shape and coloration is the best adaptation to those circumstances. However, there is one major difference between the two families. Penguins can’t fly, whereas the auks still can. This has to do with predator pressure. On Antarctica there are no land predators, so the penguins don’t need to fly in order to prevent predation. In the Arctic however there are several land predators (on Spitsbergen the Arctic Fox and the Polar Bear), so being able to fly is important. Now they can breed on small ledges that are unreachable by those predators. This picture was taken near Alkefjellet, one of the most spectacular bird cliffs in the Arctic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: