A photographer who specializes in capturing pictures of animals in their natural habitats has recently shared a photo of a yellow penguin that he thinks has never been seen before.
Yves Adams, a professional photographer from Belgium who focuses on landscapes and wildlife, came across a remarkable king penguin that had bright yellow feathers instead of the usual black ones.
During their two-month-long photography trip in Antarctica and the South Atlantic, the team took a break on a South Georgia Island to capture images of a colony of more than 120,000 king penguins.
Adams stumbled upon the unusual sight while he was unloading safety gear and food supplies on Salisbury Plain, which he had never visited before, and noticed a penguin with remarkably bright yellow feathers.
“I had never come across a penguin with such vivid yellow coloration before. Despite there being 120,000 penguins on that beach, this was the only one with yellow plumage.”
Fortunately for the photographers, the penguin with its almost tropical appearance had landed very close to their location on the beach, allowing them to have an unobstructed view of it without being surrounded by a multitude of penguins and seals in the area.
“We were extremely fortunate that the penguin landed so close to us,” said the photographer. “We didn’t have to contend with a crowd of large animals obstructing our view. Normally, it’s nearly impossible to move around on this beach because of all the animals.”
“It was a stroke of luck that the penguin landed right next to us. If it had been even just 50 meters away, we wouldn’t have been able to capture this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.”
Salisbury Plain in South Georgia is most famous for being a breeding ground where tens of thousands of king penguins gather. Photo by Liam Quinn and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
The penguin’s unusual yellow feathers are the result of leucism, a condition that causes a partial loss of pigmentation. It is similar to albinism but the animal retains some of its pigments.
“This is a penguin with leucism,” explained Adams. “Its cells are no longer producing melanin, which causes its black feathers to turn yellow and creamy in color.”
Researchers have discovered that the yellow pigment in penguin feathers is chemically different from all other known feather coloration molecules.
“Penguins use the yellow pigment to attract mates, and we strongly believe that the yellow molecule is synthesized internally,” said researcher Daniel Thomas in an interview with Smithsonian Insider.
“It is distinct from any of the five known classes of avian feather pigmentation and represents a new, sixth class of feather pigment. To our knowledge, the molecule is unlike any of the yellow pigments found in a penguin’s diet.”
In the case of this particular penguin, it is unclear whether the yellow coloration is attractive or unappealing to the opposite sex.
Rewritten Source: https://pawmypets.com/incredibly-rare-yellow-penguin-captured/