Published March 16, 2010
National Geographic Traveler contributor Andrew Evans recently spotted and filmed an all-black king penguin—a very rare mutant—on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia.
© 2010 National Geographic; video: Andrew Evans
This all black-feathered king penguin could be ‘one in a zillion.’
The video was recorded on the Sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia by National Geographic Traveler Magazine contributor editor Andrew Evans on his bus2Antarctica expedition.
While many king penguins and other penguins can have feather-coloring mutations, usually, the variations are partial.
Dr. Allan Baker, an ornithologist and head of the Department of Natural History at the Royal Ontario Museum, called the discovery of the ‘all-black’ king penguin “astonishing.” He jokingly said ”it’s a one in a zillion kind of mutation,” and scientifically calls it ‘very rare.’
He explains that typically, melanistic birds will have white spots where melanin pigmentation has failed to color the feathers. But it’s extremely rare for there to be melanin deposits over the entire breast of a bird.
Photographer Evans says he almost didn’t get the sighting recorded. As he got his camera positioned, the penguin started walking away.
From herding sheep in Mongolia to supercell thunderstorms in Oklahoma, see a gallery of the best user submitted photos this year.
Hoverboards, flying cars, automatic fill-ups, and fuel from garbage—the energy ideas in 'Back to the Future' are close at hand.
Fracking for shale oil has boosted U.S. oil production to near-record levels. But the industry faces two challenges: low prices and low reserves.
The Future of Food
How do we feed nine billion people by 2050, and how do we do so sustainably?
We've made our magazine's best stories about the future of food available in a free iPad app.