I believe I have found the answer to the question of the color of
penguin feces. It seems that both you and your friend may be correct.
Penguin guano can come in several colors, depending upon the penguin's
diet at the time:
"Another useful piece of information shared by the expedition
biologists was how the color of the guano determines how the penguins
are faring. Pink-brown (as seen in the picture) means that the
penguins are eating plenty of krill, which is usually abundant and
easy to catch. If the guano is white, it means the penguins are eating
fish, which is considerably harder to catch than krill, and therefore
is energetically more expensive to eat. Finally, if the guano is
green, the penguins are eating algae. This is usually the sign of a
bad year for the penguins."
Personal Pages of John Källén: Gerlache Strait
"The diet of a Gentoo Penguin is visible in its guano - pink when
eating krill, white when eating fish, green when molting and living on
its stomach contents."
Cybamuse: Gentoo Penguins
Much to my astonishment, I have learned that penguin ploppings are
most often pink. Really, I am not making this up. Pink.
"The Chinstrap Penguin rookery is thickly coated in pink penguin
guano. The constant dampness supports a thick, old fish market kind of
Goleta Natural History Museum - Penguins
"He makes no secret of the fact that he loves Adélie penguins. Changes
here are not limited to new species moving in. Indeed, the Adélies are
dying off, and fast. Imagine a flock of turkeys trying to bleat like
sheep, amplify it a few times, and that is the sound of a colony of
Adélies. They are packed into nests of small pebbles stained pink with
guano, and one often smells their raucous colonies before hearing
Institute for Computational Earth System Science: Polar Meltdown
"On land, orange and gray-green lichens brightened the rocks, and the
snow was frequently stained pink from the guano of krill-eating
Birdwatchers' Digest: Many Are Cold Few Are Frozen
"Once arriving at their destination, the biggest surprise about the
scenery was the bright pink droppings (guano) from the penguins. It
blanketed the land, stained the white bellies of the penguins, and
permeated the air with a foul odor."
Pleasanton Weekly: Antarctic Adventure
As I was seeking this info, I came across a few items that I thought
might make interesting reading for those who like to learn new stuff,
even if it involves birdie doodoo. Here are some tidbits of dung data
from my investigations:
A terrific article about penguin poop (warning: there's some earthy
Some interesting guano lore:
"Penguin populations are on the decline due to a number of factors.
These include oil spills, overfishing (competition with fishermen for
their food), illegal hunting and habitat degradation. Local peoples
often collect penguin guano to sell for fertilizer. Since penguins use
their guano for nests, this makes for a poor breeding area and
breeding birds and chicks are disturbed. Therefore, less penguins are
breeding and less chicks are surviving to adulthood."
Roger Williams Park Zoo: Humboldt Penguin
Search terms used:
"feces of penguins"
"excrement of penguins"
"guano of penguins"
I hope you and your friend will be tickled "pink" by this information.
It is my suggestion that each of you should treat the other to a cold,
frosty one. Meaning a beer, of course, not a penguin patty. ;-)