See this rare white Gentoo penguin discovered in Antarctica

two images of white penguin

This week, scientists are intrigued by the discovery of a nearly white penguin that was discovered in Chilean Antarctica.

The penguin, which is a female, is part of a colony of Gentoo penguins — who usually have black heads, white spots around their eyes, and bright red or orange bills. But this one’s head is a very light gray color, its bill is a pale pink, and most of its body is white.

She was discovered by researchers who study the Gentoos at the González Videla Antarctic base.

MORE: This robot lives among penguins in Antarctica

In this TikTok video for the BBC, Chilean Army cook and photographer Hugo Alejandro Harros Guerra explained that there are 14 people who live in the middle of this colony of hundreds of penguins. “Every day Antarctica and this beautiful place surprise us with something different,” he says. The video, shot by Guerra and used by the BBC on their TikTok account, gives you an idea of what the other penguins in this colony look like, and how this one stands out:

@bbc This is a rare white gentoo penguin that’s been filmed in Antarctica.
White penguins are unusual because leucism is a recessive gene, and could make them more vulnerable to predators. #BBCWorldService #Penguin #Animals #Antarctica #AnimalTok ♬ original sound – BBC

The penguin’s unusual coloring is due to a genetic mutation called leucism. It’s similar to albinism, a condition that impacts melanin production. But with leucism, the effects are only partial, so the animal has some coloring. A similar genetic mutation has popped up in alligators, whales, giraffes, bison and other species.

While Gentoos are among the largest penguin species physically, they are among the least numerous, with only about 300,000 breeding pairs.

Animals, Curiosity, News, Science & Nature, Wild Animals
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About the Author
Jennifer Graham Kizer
Jennifer Graham Kizer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Health, Parents, Parenting, Redbook and TV Guide.

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