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Males have a maximum weight of about 8.5 kg (19 lb) just before moulting, and a minimum weight of about 4.9 kg (10.8 lb) just before mating. For females the maximum weight is 8.2 kg (18 lb) just before moulting, but their weight drops to as little as 4.5 kg (10 lb) when guarding the chicks in the nest. Birds from the north are on average 700 g (1.5 lb) heavier and 10 cm (4 in) taller than southern birds gentoo penguin reaches 75-80 cm. They are the fastest underwater swimming penguins, reaching speeds of 36 km/h. Gentoo are built for very harsh cold climates.
Nests are usually made from a roughly circular pile of stones and can be quite large, 20 cm high and 25 cm in diameter.Two eggs are laid, both weighing around 500 g. The parents share incubation, changing duty daily. The eggs hatch after 34 to 36 days. The chicks remain in the nests for about 30 days before forming creches. The chicks molt into sub-adult plumage and go out to sea at about 80 to 100 days.
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