This species of penguin inhabits 24 coastal islands off southern Africa between Namibia and Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Penguin habitat is located at warm latitudes in rocky, sandy, coastal areas.
- African penguins are about 27 inches (70 cm) long.
- They weigh six to eight pounds (2-3 kg); males are slightly larger than females.
- They have black feathers on the back and white feathers with a distinctive U-shaped black stripe on the front.
- The feet are mottled black and beige colored.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Fish including sardines, pilchards, anchovies, herring, anchovy and squid. 42% of their diet is composed of fish.
At the zoo: Fish.
What Eats It?
Seals, mongoose, leopards, genets and domestic dogs prey on the African penguin. Chicks are subject to predation by gulls and ibises.
African penguins are highly social birds that live in small colonies called rookeries. These penguins live and hunt together, often hunting in groups of 50-100.
African penguins reach maturity at two to three years of age. Like all penguin species, African penguins are monogamous. The male courts the female by dancing around her and beak slapping. Once mated, the pair seeks a nesting site by building a burrow or nesting in a depression under boulders or bushes. The female usually lays two eggs and both parents incubate the eggs and help protect them from predators. The eggs hatch after about 40 days. Chicks are born with downy gray feathers and the parents continue to brood the chicks for another 15 days until the chicks are able to control their own body temperature. Both parents take turns regurgitating food for the rapidly growing chicks. African penguin chicks fledge at 60-130 days and then leave the colony gradually developing the distinctive adult plumage. At two to three years of age, penguins usually return to their natal colony to seek mates and start the breeding cycle. African penguins live up to 25 years in captivity and less in the wild.