WC will stay with penguins just a little bit longer because flightless birds are cool, too. The Magellanic Penguin is unusual in several ways. First, it is the only species of bird in the range that has a breeding colony protected by land mines. You can’t make this stuff up.
The Magellanic Penguins’ range includes the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. In the Argentine-Britain War in 1982, the Argentines placed land mines on several beaches. One of those beaches was the site of a large Magellanic Penguin colony, empty of penguins at the time of the war. Magellanic Penguins aren’t heavy enough to set the land mines off; people are. Birding, you see, is not entirely low-risk.
Second, Magellanic Penguins prefer to nest in burrows. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the idea of a waddling penguin with wings that have evolved into flippers doing any serious digging, but they do, excavating cavities a meter or more deep. The burrows provide some protection, allowing both parents to go on foraging expeditions.
Magellanic Penguins are classified as near-threatened, and face a variety of risks: beach development in Argentina, increased heavy rainstorms that fill the burrows with water and declines in prey. The situation isn’t dire, but the risks are real.
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