Humboldt Penguin - Spheniscus humboldti
This is an average sized penguin with a full grown weight of no more than 13 pounds. When they mature they will develop a black breast band. It will extend all the way down to the thigh region. They only have one band around their neck which is an easy way to tell them from the Magellanic Penguins that live in close proximity to them.
The Humboldt Penguin lives in South America along the Pacific Coast. It is found in both Chile and Peru. They enjoy the warmer climate compared to many other types of penguins out there. They live on the rocky areas around the shores.
Due to the warm temperatures where the Humboldt Penguins live, they don’t engage in the migration process. The physical appearance of these penguins is very much the same for both the males and females. It is from observing their behaviors though that they are able to be distinguished from each other. Both sexes are very social within their colony. They have intricate sounds for communication that researchers still have to learn a great deal about. It through sight and sound that they are able to recognize each other as independent beings. The entire colony works together in order to offer protection from their enemies.
You may be surprised to discover how easily the Humboldt Penguin is able to glide through the water. They can move at a speed of up to 20 miles per hour. This is how they go about feeding on small fish and krill that live in the water. They don’t chew their food, instead the swallow it quickly.
When it comes to reproduction, the Humboldt Penguin can take part in this activity any time of the year. Generally, the more food that they have available the more they will engage in it.
They reach maturity to be able to reproduce from 3 years of age. The females will lay eggs in nests or burrows to protect them from predators. They can lay up to two eggs at a time. Both the male and the female take turns keeping the eggs warm until they hatch. It takes approximately 40 days for them to be born. If food is scarce then only the largest of the offspring will be fed and the others left to die.
Right now the Humboldt Penguin is considered to be very vulnerable. The numbers aren’t low enough for it to be considered as threatened or endangered. However, the numbers continue to drop due to fishing in the area. That is their food source and it is becoming less available. They are often injured or destroyed in fishing nets out there as well.
Another reason that they are dropping in numbers is due to their natural habitat being destroyed. Changes due to the climate continue to reduce their numbers as well. For example when an El Nino occurs things are definitely off balance for them. There is no more than 12,000 of them remaining at this time.
While this penguin generally doesn’t come into contact with humans, that is their biggest threat. Humans continue to take over lands where these creatures once called their home. Conservation efforts have been made to help those that are injured though so they can live. In captivity they are able to live up to 30 years. This is about a decade more than they would live in the wild.