We don’t get to see something every day that no one has ever seen. This unique yellow penguin was photographed by wildlife photographer Yves Adams at a two-month exhibition in the South Atlantic, and has never seen it before. Fortunately, the penguin was so close to the photographer that it was able to take clear pictures.
“I had never seen or heard of a yellow penguin,”
The yellow discoloration is caused by leucism, a condition that causes loss of pigment. “This is a leucistic penguin,” said Adams. “His cells stop producing melanin, so his black feathers take on this yellow and creamy color.” It is still unclear whether the penguin’s unique color affects its social status, or whether it makes it more or less attractive to the female penguins in the group.
Told researcher Daniel Thomas Smithsonian Insider that “penguins use the yellow pigment to attract mates and we strongly suspect that the yellow molecule is synthesized internally. It stands out from each of the five known classes of bird feather pigmentation and represents a new sixth class of feather pigments. As far as we know, the molecule does not resemble the yellow pigments found in a penguin’s diet. “
Adams took thousands of stunning photos on this expedition, which lasted eight weeks after this exciting sighting, and only recently edited and uploaded them. If you want to check out Adams’ full collection, head over to his website, Instagram, Facebook and 500px page.