(Spheniscus demersus)

FUN FACT

Did you know that penguins are found only in the Southern Hemisphere? This means there are no penguins in Alaska and no penguins at the North Pole – so while we often see images of penguins and polar bears together, they would never see each other in the wild!

African penguins are native to the southwestern coast of Africa and are just one of the 18 species of penguins found throughout the Southern Hemisphere.They stand roughly 18 inches tall and weigh between 6 and 10 lbs. They are a temperate species and are comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, which is why they can live outdoors year-round at the National Aviary. Like all penguins, African penguins cannot fly but are particularly well adapted to a life in the water. They can swim at speeds of up to 15 mph using their small wings as paddles. African penguins were recently listed as an endangered species due primarily to human factors. They are currently at risk due to the effects of overfishing on their food supply, human encroachment onto nesting beaches, and oil pollution. The residents of Penguin Point are part of an important breeding program for this endangered species – which could be extinct in the wild in as little as 10 years without our help. You can help African penguins and learn more about them by visiting the National Aviary!

Distribution

Namibia and South Africa

Habitat

Warm coastal beaches

Diet

Fish and squid

Breeding

African penguins lay two eggs per nesting season and both parents share the duties of incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks. It takes 38 days for a penguin egg to hatch, and then an additional 12 weeks for the chicks to become independent.

Status

Endangered

At the Aviary

See Stanley, Elvis, Patrick, Simon, Sidney, Preston, Bette, Dottie, Kristen, Owen, TJ, Kaden, Tribby, Disco Dan and Mary Beth in Penguin Point.