Penguin Couple Has Remained Faithful for 16 Years
Penguins are famously monogamous. But scientists are still stunned at the dedication that two Magellanic penguins have showed to each other.
The pair have been together exclusively for 16 years. Researchers know this because the flightless birds are part of a South American flock that had been tagged and are tracked by satellites.
It turns out maintaining a long penguin relationship is a lot more difficult than a human one. That's because the birds take long solo trips in search of food when it isn't mating season. On these journeys they often become food themselves, effectively ending their union.
“It is unbelievable how far Magellanic penguins swim – and each breeding season they come back to the same nest and to the same partner," Dr Pablo Garcia Borboroglu, President of The Global Penguin Society, explained.
And if during any mating season the couple's chicks don't hatch, they "divorce" and find new partners. This -- and the high penguin death rates -- are why researchers didn't previously believe penguins could remain exclusive for more than five to ten years.
Now we have evidence of a pair of lovebirds who've beat those odds. We wish them another happy 16 years.