Homewrecking Penguin Fights "Husband" Penguin For "Wife" In Graphic Video


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

"BRENDAAAAA!" The husband penguin screams out in dismay. Nat Geo Channel via Twitter

Penguins are agreed by many to be among the most adorable animals in all of time and space. They are essentially waddling, clumsy hug machines. What zoological concoction can possibly beat that?

Unfortunately, though, they do have their dark side, one which was revealed by a fairly dramatic National Geographic video this weekend. It seems that when two Magellanic penguins have a marital disagreement, things get particularly violent – especially when a homewrecking third penguin is thrown into the mix.


To preface the gory scene, it’s worth pointing out that 72 percent of penguins return to mate with the same bird as the previous year. They’re pretty good partners to their significant others, in other words.

In fact, most penguins end up getting a separation only in the most final of terms – when their partner is killed by the environment or gobbled up by a predator.

This particular break-up wasn’t like that. It was more reminiscent of a Tarantino movie.


Picture a nest with two penguins inside. As the male penguin (herein known as the “husband”) goes out to fetch some food, or perhaps just waddle around a little, the female penguin (the “wife”) invites another male penguin (the proverbial “homewrecker”) back to the nest.


As you can imagine, the husband penguin, upon returning to his home, is not happy that his delusions of marital bliss have been shattered. He stares down this opponent, and unleashes an attack involving furious flapping and perilous pecking.

This actually goes on for quite some time until blood is repeatedly drawn. Standing apart and calling into the sky, the two ask for the female to come along to judge them both on their combative prowess. She picks the secret loverboy as the winner, and they both hop back into the nest.


Unhappy with the ruling, the cuckolded penguin follows them home and pokes the wife-thieving male in the butt. This doesn’t go down too well, and the two penguins begin to fight again, almost gouging each other’s eyes out.

At the end of round two, the husband calls out to the female, begging her to take him back – but to no avail. He walks away covered in crimson, his life in ruins, his bloodied coat a magnet for predators. Perhaps it’s appropriate that these birds are colloquially called “jackass penguins.”


We’ll never know if the husband ever found love, or perhaps vengeance. Thanks to Twitter, however, we can now gain an insight into what he may have done thanks to the glorious, unending nature of human creativity.


By the way, if you spotted that the penguin images used for the Twitter profiles are of the wrong species, then you’re just as pedantic as we are.


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