Don’t forget to visit all these african penguin facts that includes african penguin diet, habitat, and breeding. The African penguin ((Spheniscus demersus) is a medium-sized penguin species and is the only penguin that inhabits in the African continent. African penguin is also referred to as Black-footed penguin and Jackass. These penguins are placed in the genus Spheniscus. They are distributed all throughout the southern Hemisphere. They resemble with Humboldt and Magellanic penguins that are found in South America. The African penguin population faced a drastic decline during the 20th century. Back in 1910, there were 1.5 million penguins out of which only 10% survived at the end of the 20th century. Apart from other responsible factors, commercial fisheries are the foremost reason for this much decline as they forced these birds to pursue their prey farther off shore. Besides, this resulted in offering less nutritious diet to these penguins. Global climatic change is probably the other cause for their decline.
Interesting African Penguin Facts
- The length of these penguins measure around 68 – 70 cm (26.7 – 27.5 inches).
- African penguins weigh around 2 – 5 kg (4.4 – 11 lb).
- These species can be recognized by the distinctive black stripes and spots on their chest. There are pink glands right over its eyes which are employed for thermoregulation.
- The unique black and white combination offers a natural camouflage to the land as well as underwater predators.
- The average lifespan of these birds is 10 – 27 years in the wild. These penguins often fall to predators.
- Some of the most common marine predators include Cape Fur Seals, orcas, and sharks. The predators on land are genets, domestic cats, Kelp Gull, and mongooses. Some of these predators are known to steal African penguins eggs and newborn chicks.
The African penguins inhabit all throughout the south-western coast of Africa, occupying almost 2 islands ranging from Algoa Bay, Namibia, Port Elizabeth. It is the only species that is known to breed across Penguin Islands. Back in 1980, penguins established two colonies in Cape Town in Boulder’s Beach. This is one of the largest tourist attractions as penguins often love to approach humans as close as 3 feet.
What Do African Penguins Eat | African Penguin Facts
African penguins are known to forage in open sea where they hunt pelagic fish including pilchards, marine invertebrates, anchovies, small crustaceans, and squid. These species consume as much as 540 grams of prey each day.
African penguins are monogamous birds. They are known to breed in colonies, being pairs returns to the same site. The nesting season normally ranges from March to May in South Africa, while in Namibia the season begins in November and ends on December. The clutch size comprises 2 eggs which are laid in burrows. The incubation period lasts for 40 days which both parents contribute. The chicks fledge out after a period of 60 – 130 days. It depends on the availability of food as well as other environmental factors. The moulting period lasts for 12 – 22 months.