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Photographer says he has seen ‘first ever’ YELLOW penguin among colony on South Georgia 

Photographer says he has seen ‘first ever’ YELLOW penguin among colony on South Georgia

  • Yves Adams, a wildlife photographer, claims he captured images of a ‘never before seen’ yellow penguin
  • The young king penguin is seen sporting a bright yellow plumage while lounging in the surf of South Georgia
  • Yves spotted the unusual looking bird while leading an expedition through Antarctica and the South Atlantic
  • He believed the animal’s feathers were caused by leucism, a rare mutation that causes colour aberrations
  • The condition ranges from a few feathers to the entire plumage, causing some penguins to appear albino-like

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A wildlife photographer has captured images of what he believes to be a ‘never before seen’ yellow penguin during a tour on South Georgia.

Yves Adams said he spotted the unusual looking king penguin with a bright yellow plumage – instead of the usual black feathers – while leading a two-month photography expedition through Antarctica and the South Atlantic.

The youngster can be seen lounging in the surf and showing off its almost tropical plumage while standing next to a regular black and white penguin.

A wildlife photographer has captured images of what he believes to be a ‘never before seen’ yellow penguin on South Georgia during two-month photography expedition through Antarctica and the South Atlantic

Yves Adams said he spotted the unusual looking king penguin with a bright yellow plumage - instead of the usual black feathers - while leading a two-month photography expedition through Antarctica and the South Atlantic

Yves Adams said he spotted the unusual looking king penguin with a bright yellow plumage – instead of the usual black feathers – while leading a two-month photography expedition through Antarctica and the South Atlantic

While Yves unpacked safety equipment, a group of the usually monochrome birds swam towards the shore but one unusual bird drew his attention. Noticing the youngster with its bright plumage, Yves was quick to grab his camera and snap these images of what he calls a 'never before seen' yellow penguin

While Yves unpacked safety equipment, a group of the usually monochrome birds swam towards the shore but one unusual bird drew his attention. Noticing the youngster with its bright plumage, Yves was quick to grab his camera and snap these images of what he calls a ‘never before seen’ yellow penguin

After the tour stopped off at the wild islands of South Georgia, the 43-year-old photographer and his guests landed at Salisbury Plain to photograph their colony of more than 120,000 king penguins.

While Yves unpacked safety equipment, a group of the usually monochrome birds swam towards the shore but one unusual bird drew his attention.

Noticing the youngster with its bright plumage, Yves was quick to grab his camera and snap these images of what he calls a ‘never before seen’ yellow penguin.

After the tour stopped off at the wild islands of South Georgia, the 43-year-old photographer and his guests landed at Salisbury Plain to photograph their colony of more than 120,000 king penguins on South Georgia

After the tour stopped off at the wild islands of South Georgia, the 43-year-old photographer and his guests landed at Salisbury Plain to photograph their colony of more than 120,000 king penguins on South Georgia

Yves, from Ghent, Belgium, said: ‘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.

‘They all looked normal except for this one. It really was something else. It was an incredibly unique experience.

The photographer claimed that the penguin’s almost tropical plumage was caused by leucism, a mutation that prevents any melanin at all from being produced in feathers, causing white, pale, or patchy colouration in an animal.

The degree of leucism can range from just a few feathers to the entire plumage, from a ‘melanistic’ penguin whose normally white parts are black, to a ‘albinistic’ penguin that lacks both melanins and is totally white.

Many species of penguins have a few rare individuals with this colour pattern, penguin expert P. Dee Boersma of the University of Washington in Seattle told National Geographic

Yves’ tour with Quark Expeditions in December 2019 carried on for a further eight weeks leaving him with thousands of photos to trawl through, which has meant he has only released the photos now.

He said: ‘I’d been dreaming of going to South Georgia for 30 years since I saw my first David Attenborough documentary and I saw these penguins.

‘It was certainly worth it, even before we saw this yellow penguin. It was awe inspiring to see thousands of these birds on a rock in the middle of this massive, wild ocean.

‘It was heaven that he landed by us. If it had been 50 metres away we wouldn’t have been able to get this show of a lifetime,’ the photographer added.

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