Argentina: Punto Tombo Provincial Reserve

This small reserve is only 3 km long and 600 wide, covering a small Peninsula, but this the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in Argentina and one of the largest in the world. Between 700,000 and 1 million birds are packed on this small strip of land (about half of the entire world’s population)! The Magellanic penguin was first spotted and named by Ferdinand Magellan himself in 1520. These are medium sized penguins, 60-75 cm tall and weighing up to 6.5 kg. They form colonies along the Argentinian coastline and make trips fishing within the 80km coastal waters, often in large groups, swimming and diving at up to 25 kph. On land they dig long burrows and lay two eggs per monogamous couple, incubating them for 40 days, taking turns going out to sea to feed. Magellanic penguins are quite adapted for former weather, they can shed feathers around their nose and breeze like dogs. At Punto Tombo you are surrounded by penguins – they come out of the burrows to greet you, they congregate under bushes in shadows, and then walk in groups toward the beach.