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Brush-tailed penguins
Manchot 01
Pygoscelis antarctica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Pygoscelis
Wagler, 1832

Pygoscelis adeliae
Pygoscelis antarctica
Pygoscelis papua
Pygoscelis tyreei (fossil)
Pygoscelis calderensis (fossil)
Pygoscelis grandis (fossil)

The genus Pygoscelis ("rump-legged") contains three living species of penguins collectively known as "The Brush-Tailed Penguins".[citation needed] Their appearance - black above, white below - is the stereotypical image of penguins, and so what most people think of when they think of penguins.


Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence suggests the genus split from other penguins around 38 million years ago, about 2 million years after the ancestors of the genus Aptenodytes. In turn, the Adelie Penguins split off from the other members of the genus around 19 million years ago.[1]

The three extant species are:

Extinct species:

  • Pygoscelis grandis (Bahía Inglesa Formation, Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Bahía Inglesa, Chile)
  • Pygoscelis calderensis (Bahía Inglesa Formation, Late Miocene of Bahía Inglesa, Chile)
  • Pygoscelis tyreei (Pliocene of New Zealand)

The latter two are tentatively assigned to this genus.

Species photographs[]

Photographs of adult penguins of the extant (living) species:


  1. ^ Baker AJ, Pereira SL, Haddrath OP, Edge KA (2006). "Multiple gene evidence for expansion of extant penguins out of Antarctica due to global cooling". Proc Biol Sci. 273 (1582): 11–17. PMC 1560011Freely accessible. PMID 16519228. doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3260. 

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