African penguin Facts

African penguin Facts
African penguin is small to medium-sized species of penguin. It can be found on the south-western coast of Africa, on the 24 islands from Namibia to Algoa Bay. This is the only species of penguin that can survive in warm (non-freezing) areas. African penguin is classified as endangered due to uncontrolled harvest of eggs and guano (which is used as fertilizer), lack of food, diseases and oil spills.
Interesting African penguin Facts:
African penguin can reach 24 to 28 inches in height and 4.9 to 7.7 pounds of weight. Males are slightly larger than females.
African penguin has black back and white belly. Narrow black stripe and black spots on the ventral side of the body can be used for identification of individual African penguins.
African penguin has sharply pointed, black beak, streamlined body and large, black feet. It has pink glands above the eyes which play role in thermoregulation. When temperature is high, glands become enlarged and dark pink-colored due to increased blood flow into the glands, which is cooled down by surrounding air.
African penguin hides in the burrows during the day to avoid sun. It emerges at dusk and dawn to find food.
Diet of African penguin is based on fish, squid and crustaceans. During the molting period (which lasts 20 days) it loses nearly 50% of body weight because it cannot swim and find food without waterproof feathers.
African penguin can travel distance of 68 miles to find food. It can dive to a depth of 98 feet and remain submerged up to 2.5 minutes during the hunt.
An average swimming speed of African penguin is 4 miles per hour, but it can accelerate to 12 miles per hour when it needs to escape from the predator.
Natural enemies of African penguins are sharks, killer whales and Cape fur seals. Eggs and chicks are on a target of mongooses, genets and gulls.
Mating season of African penguins takes place from March to May in South Africa, and from November to December in Namibia.
African penguin live in large colonies on the rocky shores during the breeding season.
Males and females produce loud, donkey-like calls as a part of courtship, hence the nickname "jackass penguin". Formed couples last for a lifetime. Regular grooming strengthens bonds between the couples.
African penguins use guano to build nests. Female lays 2 eggs that hatch after 38 to 42 days. Both parents take part in the incubation of eggs and rearing of chicks.
Young African penguins are ready for the independent life at the age of 3 to 5 months.
Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 years, males at the age of 5 years.
African penguin can survive 10 to 11 years in the wild and up to 30 years in the captivity.

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