Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua


Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Near Threatened A2be+3be+4be
2010 Near Threatened A2b,c,d; A3b,c,d; A4b,c,d
2008 Near Threatened A2b,c,d; A3b,c,d; A4b,c,d
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Land-mass type - shelf island
Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 16,500,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 53,000,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 774000 medium estimated 2013
Population trend Stable poor suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations 100 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 7 - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated at 774,000 mature individuals (Lynch 2013).

Trend justification: Overall, the global population is assumed to be stable. 

On the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), annual monitoring has provided increasing evidence of large fluctuations at the population scale over extended time periods (c 10-12 years; A. Stanworth pers. comm.). Reports of population declines by c.45% from 1932-33 to 1995-96 (Bingham 1998), following periods of apparent stability (Trathan et al. 1996, Bingham 2002, Clausen and Huin 2003, Crawford et al. 2009, Forcada and Trathan 2009), are within the scale of these fluctuations (A. Stanworth pers. comm.). Population trends have been positive for the last 13 years (Crofts and Stanworth 2016), with indications of an overall positive trend over the past 25 years. Breeding pair estimates are currently higher than those observed in 1932-33 (132,000 compared to 116,000) (Baylis et al. 2013). In the southwestern Atlantic Ocean, rates of change simulated from census data from 70 breeding sites showed average rates of increase of 2.4% per year (Lynch et al. 2012).

In the Antarctic Peninsula, populations are increasing (Lynch et al. 2008, Ducklow et al. 2013, Lynch 2013). Here, regional populations have grown by more than 1,100% since 1974, e.g. in the Palmer Archipelago (Fountain et al. 2016, Fraser 2016). However, at some sites, significant inter-annual variability in the numbers of individuals returning to breed is now evident (Fraser unpublished ), suggesting that prior rates of increase may be slowing down.

The populations at sub-Antarctic islands may have decreased substantially in the past—at Bird Island, South Georgia by c.67% in 25 years (J. P. Croxall in litt. 1999), and at Marion Island (Prince Edward Islands) by 52% (Dyer and Crawford 2015) between 1994 and 2012. However, populations at some locations now appear to be stable or increasing (Forcada and Trathan 2009, Lynch 2013, Dunn et al. 2016), though populations are still declining at Marion Island (Crawford et al. 2014) and may still be declining on Heard Island and on Kerguelen Island (Lescroël and Bost 2006), all in the southwest Indian Ocean. The reasons for the increases are unknown, but could be related to changing marine foodwebs.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Antarctica N Extant Yes
Argentina N Extant
Australia N Extant Yes
Bouvet Island (to Norway) U Extant
Chile N Extant Yes
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) N Extant Yes
French Southern Territories N Extant Yes
Heard Island and McDonald Islands (to Australia) N Extant Yes
New Zealand V Extant
South Africa N Extant Yes
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands N Extant Yes
St Helena (to UK) V Extant

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Antarctica Admiralty Bay and adjacent waters
Antarctica Ardley Island, King George Island
Antarctica Cuverville Island
Antarctica Islet south of Gerlache Island
Antarctica Petermann Island
Antarctica West Admiralty Bay, King George Island
Antarctica Yankee Harbour, Greenwich Island
Argentina Canal Beagle
Argentina Islas Georgias del Sur
Argentina Islas Malvinas
Argentina Islas Sandwich del Sur
Australia Macquarie Island
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Beauchêne Island
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Beaver Island Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Bertha's Beach, East Falkland
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Bleaker Island Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Bull Point, East Falkland
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Hope Harbour, West Falkland
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Jason Islands Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Keppel Island
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Lively Island Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) New Island Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Passage Islands Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Pebble Island Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Saunders Island
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Sea Lion Islands Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Seal Bay, East Falkland
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Speedwell Island Group
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Volunteer Point, East Falkland
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) West Point Island Group
French Southern Territories Île aux Cochons
French Southern Territories Île de l'Est
French Southern Territories Île Foch, Île Sainte Lanne Gramont and Île Howe
French Southern Territories Îles Nuageuses and Île Clugny
French Southern Territories Péninsule Courbet
French Southern Territories Péninsule Rallier du Baty
French Southern Territories Southern coast of Péninsule Jeanne d'Arc
Heard Island and McDonald Islands (to Australia) Heard and McDonald Islands
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands South Georgia - mainland, islands, islets and stacks
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands South Sandwich Islands

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Subantarctic major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects, Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) No decline Low Impact: 4
Reduced reproductive success
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic species/disease of unknown origin - Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 3
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Eggs Wild Non-trivial Recent
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Fuel Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Non-trivial Historical
Fuels - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Pygoscelis papua. Downloaded from on 22/01/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/01/2019.