SEOUL, Aug. 18 (Korea Bizwire) – A team of researchers at the Korea Polar Research Institute published a report in the online journal “Scientific Reports” on August 17 detailing the gentoo penguin’s communication patterns.
A group of Korean researchers conducted their study at King Sejong Station on Antarctica’s King George Island. By capturing and attaching recording devices weighing 120 grams to the penguins’ bodies, the researchers were able to amass large quantities of data.
An analysis of 598 “voice” recordings of the birds when in the water throughout their breeding season (December through January) revealed that the birds’ cries lasted between 0.1 and 0.5 seconds in duration and ranged in audio frequency between 500 to 1000 hertz.
The research team observed that when these cries were uttered by a single bird, nearly half of the time (43.18 percent) penguins in the vicinity flocked to the origin of the cry. Then, the group of penguins all moved as one unit in a single direction. Based on observations of this nature, the research team concluded that such cries served as a means of gathering fellow penguins to form a search party for fishing waters.
“Although penguins spend the majority of their time in the water and not on land, there has been almost no research conducted on how they act at sea. Through our research [we] learned for the first time that penguins vocally call for each other in the water,” said senior researcher Lee Won Yong.
The gentoo penguin is easily distinguished from other penguins thanks to its dark red beak and patch of white above its eyes.