African penguins don’t really live in the jungles of Africa, but along the southwestern coast of the continent that makes most people think of lions and elephants. Actually, the African penguins can really be called the “loners” of their species, because they are so separated from other penguin breeds.
Penguin name: African (or Black footed) penguin
Scientific name: Spheniscus demerus
Size: About 18 inches tall, or about the height of an adult’s knee!
Location: Lives off the islands of the coast of southwestern Africa.
What Do They Eat? African penguins love their fish, anchovies, crustaceans (like crabs) and krill (which is tiny marine life)
Main enemies: Kelp Gulls and large predators like sharks and fur seals.
photo by Paul Mannix
Did you know that African penguins could eat up to a pound of food a day? That’s a lot of fish! As a matter of fact, they love fish so much that they often swim up to 60 miles away from land to search for food!
African penguins live in the rather warm waters off the coast of Africa. They are black and white, like most of their penguin cousins, but they also have a white stripe that circles their eyes and runs down their cheeks and throat in a horseshoe-shaped pattern. Their eyes look pink close up, and boy, are they cute!
African penguins also have short wings that help them swim very fast, up to 20 miles per hour in the water! These very special penguins are also called “Jackass penguins” because they sound like donkeys when the gentlemen court the ladies.
African penguins gather together in groups called “rookeries” in the fall season, where they lay two green eggs. The penguin mom’s and dad’s sit on their eggs for about five weeks until the eggs hatch around March. Then, both mother and father take care of their little ones until they are old enough to take care of themselves.
The numbers of this very special breed of penguin are decreasing due to pollution and loss of habitat.