Adelie Penguin Adaptations: Feet
Adelie Penguin feet turn pink when they walk or just after swimming. This is because at this time, they need to expell heat as they do not 'sweat.' Blood goes to that area during exercise and this makes their feet pink.

When standing, Adelie penguin feet are whitish, because less blood flows to them when not exercising. This helps them to conserve heat.

Strong toenails help Adelie penguins to climb the rocks to their nesting site. They also grip the ice when they are walking or sliding along.

Adelie foot underside.

Tough leathery skin and pads make climbing on rocks and ice easy for Adelie penguins.

Adelie Penguin's strong feet and nails grip the rocks allowing them to make the climb to their breeding colony


Adelie chick foot

Soft and pink, the feet of this 1-week-old chick have not had time to develop the hard skin and pads of an adult.

This parent is holding the egg on its feet to help keep it warm.

Parents also nestle new born chicks on their feet which are warmer than the rocks underneath. Adult Adelie Penguins use their strong feet, toe nails and legs to push themselves as they slide along the ice on their belly. This is called ‘tobogganing’.
Here you can see the bone structure of penguin legs and how they are positioned when the penguins stand.