A camera attached to the head of an Adelie penguin in Antarctica has revealed new information about how the species feeds and, in particular, the ''stealth'' tactics it employs to catch krill. A Japanese researcher has just published his findings about the bird's hunting methods, and released new footage of the bird in action. Rob Muir reports.
The Adele penguin...revealed as one of the world's great hunters. With a miniature camera on its back, the penguin attacks its prey with ruthless efficiency, gobbling an average of two krill per second. In a feeding session lasting an hour and a half the bird consumes 244 krill and 33 small fish. None escape. On another bird, an acceleromoter measures beak speed as it attacks. For researchers led by Yuuki Watanabe at Japan's National Institute for Polar Research, the footage was a revelation. (SOUNDBITE) ASSISTANT PROFESSOR YUUKI WATANABE, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF POLAR RESEARCH, SAYING: "We didn't know if the penguins caught krill one-by-one -- I'd thought they just somehow got into their stomachs when they were after other prey. But when we saw the footage it turned out the penguins were doing just that, eating these tiny creatures one after the other." The research was conducted in Antarctica more than two years ago. The now published findings reveal that for the Adelie penguin, survival is all about strategy. (SOUNDBITE) ASSISTANT PROFESSOR YUUKI WATANABE, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF POLAR RESEARCH, SAYING: "You could say the penguins have got an amazing stealth mode. They're great at sneaking up on their prey and taking them unawares. They're incredible hunters." And to know the penguin, says Watanbe, is to understand its relationship with an environment scientists say is at risk. The more they can learn he says, the better placed they are to assess the threat posed by climate change. But now the penguin research is complete and Watanabe is preparing for his next animal-cam project - sharks.