The chinstrap penguin grows to about 30 inches in length and can weigh just under 12 pounds. Like many penguins, their feathers are black on their back and white on their front. This type of “countershading” helps them avoid being seen by predators while swimming. From above, the dark color blends in with the ocean, whereas from below, the white color blends in with light from the sun. They are flightless like all penguin species, with wings that have adapted to become flippers that aid in swimming.
Their name comes from the thin line of black feathers that runs just beneath the penguin’s head. It resembles a chinstrap, as if the penguin is wearing a helmet. It also the basis for the penguin’s other common names – ringed penguin and bearded penguin. The name “stonecracker” refers to the penguin’s loud and ear-splitting cry.
The penguin’s bill is black, and its webbed feet are pink. Its eyes are reddish.