A wildlife photographer has managed to share a once-in-a-lifetime photograph of a “never before seen” yellow penguin.
Yves Adams, a Belgian wildlife and landscape photographer, during a two-month trip in Antarctica and the South Atlantic Ocean, he had met an unusual king penguin with bright yellow feathers – very different from the typical black feathers.
The group decided to stop at an island in South Georgia to photograph a beautiful collection of over 120,000 penguins, including king penguins. Adams was loading some food and defense equipment onto Salisbury Plain, where he observed a peculiar sight. A penguin with such dazzling yellow plumage.
“I’d never seen or heard of a yellow penguin before. There were 120,000 birds on that beach and this was the only yellow one there.”
The photographers were fortunate the penguin with a tropical look was at the beach, close to the group. They got an incredible picture of it, unobstructed by the surrounding ocean.
“We were so lucky the bird landed right where we were”, said the photographer. “Our view wasn’t blocked by a sea of massive animals. Normally it’s almost impossible to move on this beach because of them all”.
Its nearness is definitely a blessing, if it was another 50 meters away, we would never have captured such a great spectacle in our lifetime.
Leucism is the reason these penguins have this distinctive yellow plumage. It’s similar to albinism and causes loss of pigmentation. However, this animal retains its pigment.
“This is a leucistic penguin, Its cells don’t create melanin, Adams says. This loss of melanin results in their black feathers becoming cream in color.” Science suggests a chemical distinction of yellow pigment from all other molecules that give color to feathers.
According to researcher Daniel Thomas, penguins use their yellow pigment to attract their partners. In addition, he also suspects that these yellow molecules are internally synthesized.
Yellow pigment varies widely from the five known classes of avian plumage pigmentation and represents the sixth class of plumage pigmentation. Whatever, the function of the yellow pigment, in this case, is not very clear. Maybe, it might be attractive or repulsive to the opposite gender.
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