• Open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Grounds close at 5 p.m.

AFRICAN PENGUIN

(Spheniscus demersus)

There are 36 penguins in the Zoo's flock, many hatched right here at the Zoo. They squabble, are very territorial and live with a lot of drama. Each penguin has its own personality; some are leaders, some followers, some aggressive and some docile. Both parents are involved in taking care of the young and they are excellent parents.

ABOUT THE AFRICAN PENGUIN

STATUS IN THE WILD

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Endangered. The greatest threats facing African penguins are oil spills, leaking tankers and over-fishing. The Zoo has been making solid contributions to populations in conservation care at Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited (AZA) zoos since hatching its first chick in 1999. It has been a consistent forerunner in African penguin breeding in the United States ever since, with more than 90 chicks hatched.

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HABITAT

Coastal areas and seas off the southern tip of Africa, including islands.

DIET

The African black-footed penguin feeds only at sea, eating crustaceans, fish and squid. How can you help African penguins? An organization called SANCCOB was established in 1968. To date, they have treated more than 85,000 seabirds. Learn more about this organization by clicking here.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • African penguins prefer warmer water between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • These birds are flightless. Their wings, modified flippers, are used for swimming and diving up to 30 feet deep.
  • The call of an African penguin sounds almost like a donkey braying.
  • Penguin feathers are stiff and overlap in layers to trap air next to the skin, making their coat both wind and waterproof.