Archived 2016 topics: Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua): downlist from Near Threatened to Least Concern?

BirdLife species factsheet for Gentoo Penguin:

The Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua has a circumpolar breeding distribution that ranges in latitude from the Fish Islands on the Antarctic Peninsula (66°01’S) (Fraser unpublished) to the Crozet Islands (46°00’S) (Lynch 2013). The three most important locations, containing 80% of the global population, are the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) (Baylis et al. 2013), South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (Georgias del Sur) (Trathan et al. 1996) and the Antarctic Peninsula including the South Shetland Island (Lynch et al. Unpublished).

In 2004, this species was uplisted to Near Threatened because, while some populations had apparently increased, rapid declines in some key populations were suspected to be driving a moderately rapid global population decline over three generations (21 years).

Although the population trends are difficult to establish because of large year-to-year fluctuations in the size of the breeding population, a recent estimate of the global population indicates that there has been an increase from 314,000 to 387,000 pairs (Woehler 1993; Lynch 2013). The population appears to have increased in the south of its range, while annual monitoring of the Falkland Islands’ (Malvinas) population indicates an overall positive trend over the past 25 years. Thus, although future vigilance will be necessary, the overall population increase would qualify the species to be listed as Least Concern.

Any comments on the proposed downlisting are welcome.



Baylis, A.M.M., Crofts, S., Wolfaardt, A.C. 2013. Population trends of Gentoo Penguins Pygoscelis papua breeding at the Falkland Islands. Marine Ornithology 41: 1–5.

Lynch, H. L. 2013. The gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua). In: García Borboroglu, P. G. and Boersma P. D. (eds), Biology and Conservation of the World’s penguins, University of Washington Press, Seattle U.S.A.

Trathan, P. N., Daunt, F. H. J. and Murphy, E. J. (eds). 1996. South Georgia: An Ecological Atlas. British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK.

Woehler, E. J. 1993. The distribution and abundance of Antarctic and Subantarctic penguins. Scientific Commission on Antarctic Research, Cambridge, U.K.

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1 Response to Archived 2016 topics: Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua): downlist from Near Threatened to Least Concern?

  1. James Westrip (BirdLife) says:

    Based on available information, and following review our proposal for the 2016 Red List is to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.

    The final 2016 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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