The Punta Tombo penguin colony
The Punta Tombo penguin colony, near the city of Trelew, is home to the largest continental colony of Magellan penguins and receives more than one million specimens that reproduce every season.
The tourist town of Puerto Madryn, located on the Atlantic, is one of the starting points for visiting the Punta Tombo reserve and seeing the penguins. Created in 1979 by the government of Chubut (one of the Provinces of Argentina), the reserve allows you to see thousands of these seabirds in their natural habitat, less than a meter away.
The way to get to Punta Tombo is through excursions by land, which allow you to admire the Patagonian steppe and the fauna of the area. At the end of this path, the first penguin families begin to appear.
Each family lives in one meter deep caves, built by male penguins to attract females, who arrive at the coast a month later than their male peers. Penguins are experienced swimmers. In water they reach a speed of 24 km / h and can sink up to 80 m below sea level.
Depending on the time of year you visit the reserve, you can participate in various events: the arrival of the females and the reproductive cycle in September, the birth of the puppies in November, and a month later, the first forays at sea of the little ones.
Magellanic penguins who meet in Punta Tombo from September to April to nest, mate, incubate eggs and feed their young, offer a unique show on the continent.
Punta Tombo is one of the most famous and popular places on the coast of Argentine Patagonia. It offers one of nature's most fascinating spectacles: the continental colony of Magellanic penguins.
In addition, Punta Tombo is a paradise for other seabirds who have chosen this place to nest: gray or southern gulls, dung, two species of cormorants, the real and the black neck, antarctic pigeons, and several species of giant terns and procellaries.
The Magellanic penguin can be found from Tierra del Fuego to Brazil (by the Atlantic Ocean) and Peru (by the Pacific Ocean) These distant destinations are reached after a migration to warm waters of more than 6000 kilometers.
Between August and September of each year the first males arrive to the area to rebuild the nest, usually in the same place they used the previous season, which can be outdoors or under a bush.
As of March, they leave the land and remain in the sea. A large part of the population, and particularly juveniles, migrate north, where they can reach Peru and Brazil.
At birth, the chicks do not weigh more than 150 grams. and they don't go to the sea until they reach 250 grs.
After the laying of the first egg the males go out to feed the sea and also worry about bringing more vegetation to the nest. The second pigeons are generally smaller and less likely to survive (30% survival), this is usually due to lack of food due to commercial fishing that makes it more difficult for parents to find food.