Adelie Penguins’ tails are long, compared to other penguin species, and have stiff feathers. Walking wears these feathers, as they drag along the ice or rocks. They use their tail to help steer in the water, allowing them to make hair-pin turns. They also use their tail to prop themselves up while they are sitting back on their heels, keeping their toes nestled in their feathers (see skeleton in section on Feet).
Near the tail is a gland that secrets oil. When Adelie penguins preen they use the oil to keep their feathers water proof.
This Adelie is standing on a slope of rock and is using its tail to maintain balance.
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Adelie Penguin Adaptations: Tail