African / Blackfooted Penguins

AfricanScientific Name
Spheniscus demersus

Distinguishing Features
African penguins have a black band that runs in an inveerted horseshoe shape at the top of their fronts. Their chests are dotted with a few random black spots. They also have a pink spot above both eyes.

Height & Weight
Adults are about 60cm tall. Their weight varies from 2.5 to 4.0kg.

Breeding & Population
African penguins breed on the coast of South Africa and Namibia as well as off-shore islands. The breeding population in 2004 was a little over 58,000 pairs. Since then, the population has dropped, partially due to new construction for mining in the area.

Nests are usually built underneath bushes. Two eggs are laid and incubated for about 40 days. The parents equally share sitting on the egg for 1 to 3 day shifts. Once hatched, the chicks are brooded and guarded for another 40 days. The parents share the duties of feeding and guarding their young. The chicks will moult when they are 70 to 100 days old and then will be able to go to sea.

African penguins eat mostly fish but sometimes take in some squid and small crustaceans.

Alternate Names
African penguins are also commonly known as “black-footed” penguins for their mostly black feet. They are also called “jackass” penguins because of the braying sound they make as a donkey would.


2 responses to “African / Blackfooted Penguins

  1. Leah

    Not once on this page does it mention that the pink stripe is a sweat gland. That is pretty important I think.

  2. Stormy

    a penguin (african) has black marks on thier backs so predotors can’t see them from above and white so they can’t see them from the bottom.

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