Scientific NameSpheniscus demersus
Native To Namibia and South Africa
Habitat Coastal waters, sandy beaches and rocky shores
Diet Piscivore: capelin, smelt, herring and squid
Size and Age 60-70 cm (23-28 in); average lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild (up to 25 years under human care)
- Unlike their Antarctic cousins, African penguins are warm weather birds. They can be found in Namibia and South Africa. At only 60-70 cm (23-28 in) tall, they are much shorter than the more famous, cold-weather emperor penguins that can grow up to 130 cm (a little over 4 ft) tall.
- The classic black and white colouring of penguins are not just to make them look fancy! It is an effective form of camouflage called countershading. While swimming, their black backs hide them among the dark depths of the ocean. From below, their white bellies blend in with the much brighter water above. The belly spots of African penguins are just as unique, and identifying, as our fingerprints. Once a year, they go through a ‘catastrophic’ moult, where they lose all their feathers and grow new ones.
- African penguins can dive for two and a half minutes—normally to 30m (approximately 100 ft) deep.
- Closest relatives:
Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus)
Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)
Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mediculus)