African (Jackass) Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)
The African Penguin is also known as the Jackass Penguin after its donkey-like braying call
These are some of Boulders' residents
French: Manchot du Cap
Portuguese: Pinguim do Cabo
Dutch: Zwartvoetpinguïn, Brilpinguïn
African Penguins grow to 68-70 cm tall and weigh between 2 and 4 kilograms. They have a black stripe and black spots on the chest, the spots being unique for every penguin, like human fingerprints. They have pink sweat glands above their eyes. The hotter the penguin gets, the more blood is sent to these sweat glands so it may be cooled by the surrounding air, thus making the glands more pink. The males are larger than the females and have larger beaks.
They breed throughout the year, the main breeding season starting in February. Females lay two eggs, with an incubation period of 38-42 days. They are a monogamous species and the lifelong partners take turns to incubate their eggs and feed their young. The moulting season is between October and February, with the majority of the birds moulting in November and December, after which they head out to sea to feed (since they do not feed during moulting season and remain on land). Their diet includes small fish such as sardines and anchovies. The penguins obtain water from the fish they eat.
African Penguins have an average lifespan of 10-11 years, the females reaching sexual maturity at the age of 4 years, and males at the age of 5 years. The highest recorded age for a bird of this species has been 24, however several individual birds have lived to be up to 40 years old in aquarium settings. The current population (as of 2003) estimated at 179,000 adults, with 56,000 breeding pairs.
This is the only penguin breeding in Africa and was probably the first penguin encountered by Europeans. Numbers declined significantly during the Twentieth Century and their future has been jeopardized recently by major oil spills.
3.3 kg (m), 3.0 kg (f)
The only penguin occurring regularly in southern Africa. African Penguins, like Humboldt Penguins, differ from Magellanic Penguins in that they lack a second dark breast band (although some African Penguins do have an additional breast band). The area of naked skin reaches all around the eye and is more extensive than that in Humboldt Penguins.
Immature African Penguins have a grey face and lack the pied pattern of adults. Adult plumage occurs after 14 months.
African Penguins breed in burrows, rock crevices and under shrubs, often forming large colonies, with some numbering over ten thousand pairs. Breeding is poorly synchronised. Their loud braying voice led to them also being called Jackass Penguins. Birds forage close inshore, especially during the breeding season.
As the name suggests, the African Penguin is endemic to southern Africa with the largest concentrations along the Benguela Current, which brings nutrient-rich water to the west coast of South Africa and Namibia.
Migration and Vagrancy:
Non-migratory. Vagrants have been found as far north as Setta Cama, Gabon, and Inhaca Island, Mozambique.
Mainly fish (over 80%), in particular anchovy. Cephalopods and crustaceans are taken as well, but to a much lesser extent.