The Lucky Photographer Recorded Extremely Rare Once-In-A-Lifetime Yellow Penguin Story

Only the luckiest people in the world get the opportunity to capture a once-in-a-lifetime shot that none of us have seen before - perhaps a shot of a yellow penguin. Yves Adams who's a Belgian wildlife and a landscape photographer is among that luckiest group of photographers who spotted a strange and unique bright yellow coloured king penguin during his two-month photography expedition throughout South Atlantic and Antarctica.

yellow penguin rare

This particular penguin had been spotted when the crew stopped on an island in South Georgia to photograph a colony of over 120,000 king penguins. Adams then noticed the unusual sight of the penguin with bright yellow plumage while he was unloading safety equipment and food onto Salisbury Plain.

yellow penguin rare

“I’d never seen or heard of a yellow penguin before. There were 120,000 birds on that beach and this was the only yellow one there”. To their surprise the penguin landed on the beach close by, giving them an undisturbed moment to enjoy.

yellow penguin rare

“We were so lucky the bird landed right where we were”, said the photographer. “Our view wasn’t blocked by a sea of massive animals. Normally it’s almost impossible to move on this beach because of them all”.

The opportunity to have it close by is a blessing. They wouldn't have captured such a great show if it was another 50 meters away. By the way, Salisbury Plain in South Georgia is a well-known breeding site of thousands of king penguins.

yellow penguin rare

The reason behind the strange yellow coloured plumage of this penguin is leucism, which causes loss of pigmentation. Though similar to albinism, this condition makes the animal keep some of its pigments.

As per Adams, the leucistic penguins do not create melanin. This loss of melanin results in their black feathers becoming cream in color. Science suggests a chemical distinction of yellow pigment from all other molecules that give color to feathers.

The researcher Daniel Thomas says that the penguins use their yellow pigment to attract partners. In addition, he also suspects that these yellow molecules are internally synthesized.

yellow penguin rare

Yellow pigment is quite distinct from all the five known classes of avian plumage pigmentation and represents a sixth class of feather pigmentation. However, the role of the yellow pigment in this case is not very clear. Perhaps, it might be attractive or repulsive to the opposite gender.

What do you think of this rare pigmentation and penguin photography? We'd love to hear from you. Leave your valuable ideas in the comment section below. Happy trails until we meet again!

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