This is a brilliant little video which certainly surprised and delighted me. Wow, humans can learn about the sentience and intelligent behaviour of animals all the time if we are curious and care enough. The groups encounter each other on a track, and they pause to chat, and I guess pass on information to each other. And then they move on and go their own way. But one penguin inadvertently joins the other group. A member of the group to which he belongs chases after him at high speed to remind him that he belongs in the other group, and he immediately peels away and bounds down the slope. It is a delightful moment.
It will not surprise people looking at the video that penguins are some of the most social birds among all those on the planet. They may swim and feed in groups. During breeding they come ashore and create huge colonies called rookeries.
They have an intricate mating procedure and elaborate vocal and visual displays to establish and maintain territories. During courtship the male penguin finds the smoothest pebble and gives it to his chosen female as a gift. If she approves, she will place it in the nest and the two will then continue building up a pebble mound in preparation for birthing and raising their offspring.
They often travel in small groups of 5-20 individuals as seen in the video. The communicate through vocalisations and “displays” which is a form of body language.
Why are penguin so social? Perhaps the first reason is that they are safer from predators such as killer whales, sharks, skuas and especially leopard seals. And they tend to return to the breeding area where they were born.
Penguins are described as “colonial” which means that they live in large groups.
Emperor penguins live in large groups to conserve energy and protect them from the cold because they live in temperatures of -30°C and below. They huddle together to keep warm, and each individual takes their turn to be on the outside.
Within each colony penguins remain in pairs, and they are usually monogamous meaning that they have one partner although apparently there are exceptions. They will remain with one partner for the duration of the mating season. And in fact, in most cases, a pair will mate with each other for most of their lives.
Penguins are said to be “super-friendly” with people. They feel safer on land around tourists and researchers compared in the water where there are predators.
If they have a friend for life, it will be there mating partner. They spend more time finding a mate to partner with them building friendships.
African penguins communicate emotion such as hunger, anger and loneliness through six distinctive vocal calls according to scientists who have observed their behaviour in captivity.
Below are some pages on marine wildlife.