African Penguin Facts
Also known as the Black Footed Penguin, the African Penguin is one that many people enjoy viewing. They are
about 7-11 pounds in weight and up to 27 inches tall. You will be able to easily identify them due to their
physical characteristics. They are black in color along their head and their backside. One the belly the feature
black spots and black lines.
African Penguin, Spheniscus demersus, Bristol
Zoo, Bristol, England. Author: Adrian Pingstone.
If you observe these spots and lines, you will notice they are different for each one. This is a great way for
researchers to be able to track the behaviors and movements of particular members of a colony of African
African Penguin Habitat
The Southern coast of Africa is where you will find the majority of the African Penguins. They live in 24
known islands around this continent. of them around this continent. There is no place else on Earth where
this species of penguin is found.
African Penguin Behavior
This is one of the most calm types of penguins out there. In fact, in some of the viewing areas tourists can get
extremely close to them in their natural environment without fear of an aggressive attack. It is reported that
people can come within three feet of them before they will move away.They make sounds that are very similar to
those of a donkey in order to interact and communicate with other members of their colony.
African Penguin Diet
The diet for African Penguins includes a variety of fish that are found along the coast of Africa. They include
squid, sardines, anchovies, and pilchards.
Due to the unique patterns of black and white, the African Penguin is less likely to be found by predators in the
water during their own hunting efforts.
African Penguin Reproduction
The African Penguin has not set breeding season. They can engage in it any time of the year. However, the
majority of it ends up taking place from September to February.
African Penguin females will lay two eggs and incubate them for up to 40 days with the help of her mate. They form
lifelong mating rituals with one partner.
African Penguin Conservation
It is estimated that the African Penguin can live up to 10 years in the wild. This isn’t very long given that
they don’t mature sexually until they are from 4 to 6 years of age. In the past 100 years the number of them
has dropped from 1.5 million to be only at 55,000 in 2010.
In Africa, the eggs from these penguins are a very common source of food. Due to many living in poverty in this
area there aren’t any controlled efforts or laws prohibiting it. As a result many of the eggs are removed before
they have the chance for the young to develop.
Another problem is that their natural habitat continues to be destroyed. More than 19,000 of these penguins were
killed due to an oil spill in 2000. As a result of all of these events they are currently listed with a status of
"African Penguin population dropped from 1.5
million to less than 55,00o in the past 100 years."
African Penguin and Human Interaction
There have been some human interactions in an effort to help them survive. After that oil spill in 2000, many
volunteers helped to move almost 20,000 African Penguins from the area. This way they could have sufficient time to
clean up the oil as those penguins make the three week swim back to their natural habitat. Others have been given
tracking devices so that their movements can be monitored and information recorded.