African Penguin - Also Called: Jackass Penguins, Cape Penguins
Height: 65 cm (26 inches) for average adult.
Weight: 4 to 5 kg (9 to 10 lbs) for average adult.
- Black and white with single black chest band on white chest.
- Bill is black with a white band surrounding it about one-third from the tip.
- Eyes surrounded by pink skin.
- Juveniles covered with dark grey down.
- Individualistic black chest spots on adults.
- Likes to feed on anchovies and sardines.
- Islands and some mainland sites in South Africa.
- In the past burrowed into the guano layers but this has been harvested for use as an agricultural fertilizer.
- Nest in burrows to protect their young from the heat of the summer and predators.
- When no burrowing locations can be found they nest in the open.
- Surface nesting makes penguins vulnerable to flooding of nests and predators.
- Male arrives at the breeding site, finds a burrow and vocalizes.
- Female will answer his call, walk around him and they rub bills.
- Mutual preening, bill rubbing and vocalizations reinforce their bond.
- The female lay 2 eggs a few days apart.
- Both parents take turns incubating the egg relieving each other for fishing expeditions.
- Crèches form as the chicks reach 3 to 4 weeks of age.
- Chicks fledge at 2 1/2 months then go to sea.
- Pair bonds are long lasting and generally mate for life.
- These penguins breed year round with each site having a favorable breeding period because of the moderate temperatures.
- Kelp Gulls and feral cats while nesting on eggs and chicks.
- Seals and sharks while adults at sea.
- Disturbed and killed by vehicle traffic.
- Marine pollution and oil spills are largely responsible for the decline of the South African penguin population.
- Fisheries compete for the penguins preferred fish: sardines and anchovies.
- Until 1967 South African penguin eggs were harvested as a delicacy.
- Formerly called Black-Footed, Cape or Jackass Penguins, because of their loud donkey like vocalizations.