TWO huge colonies of Adélie penguins have been discovered hiding in plain sight on Antarctic islands.
Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) were known to nest on the Danger Islands, near the tip of the west Antarctic Peninsula. But only in 2014 did satellite images reveal large areas stained with guano.
A team led by Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University in New York has now surveyed the birds, using drones specially adapted for the cold.
The global population of Adélie penguins was already increasing, for unknown reasons. However, numbers have fallen around the west Antarctic Peninsula, which has warmed rapidly in recent decades because of climate change. An east Antarctic colony, on Petrel Island, has suffered two bad breeding seasons in the last decade.
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