A wildlife photographer has shared a once-in-a-lifetime photo of what he believes is a “never before seen” yellow penguin.
Yves Adams, who’s a Belgian landscape and wildlife digital photographer spotted the incredibly special king penguin sporting a bright yellow plumage– as opposed to the normal black feathers.
All while leading a two-month digital photography expedition throughout Antarctica and the South Atlantic.
The group made a stop on an island in South Georgia to photograph a colony of over 120,000 king penguins.
Adams saw the unusual sight when unloading some safety equipment and food onto Salisbury Level, which he had never ever before seen. a penguin with such bright yellow plumage.
” I ‘d never seen or become aware of a yellow penguin before. There were 120,000 birds on that beach and this was the only yellow one there.”
Luckily for the photographers, the almost tropical-looking penguin had actually arrived at the beach close by to the team. So they got an incredible sight of it unobstructed by the sea of penguins and seals in the area.
” We were so lucky the bird landed right where we were,” the digital photographer says. “Our view wasn’t blocked by a sea of massive animals. Usually it’s almost difficult to move on this beach due to them all.”
” It was paradise that he landed by us. If it had actually been 50 meters away we wouldn’t have actually had the ability to get this show of a lifetime.”
Salisbury Plain in South Georgia is best recognized for being a breeding site where 10s or thousands of thousands of king penguins collect. Picture by Liam Quinn and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
The penguin’s uncommon yellow plumage is because of leucism, which results in a loss of pigmentation. It resembles albinism but the animal maintains some of its pigments.
” This is a leucistic penguin,” Adams claims. “Its cells do not create melanin anymore so its black feathers become this yellow and creamy color.”
Scientists have found that the yellow pigment in penguin plumes is chemically distinct from all various other molecules that are known to give color to feathers.
” Penguins make use of the yellow pigment to attract friends and we strongly think that the yellow molecule is synthesized internally,” researcher Daniel Thomas tells Smithsonian Insider.
” It’s distinct from any one of the five recognized classes of avian plumage pigmentation and represents a new sixth class of feather pigment. As far as we are aware, the molecule is unlike any one of the yellow pigments located in a penguin’s diet.”
In this specific case, it’s not clear whether the yellow color of the penguin is attractive or undesirable for the contrary sex.