African Penguin

(Spheniscuc demersus)

Bird | South Africa

Animal Info

Seneca Park Zoo is home to a thriving colony of African penguins. Our Zoo is one of the top breeders of African penguins in the United States, therefore the number of individuals is always changing. Their habitat is outdoors along the Rocky Coasts.

Status in the Wild

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Endangered, with a decreasing population. The biggest threats to African penguins are rising sea temperatures, overfishing, and oil spills.


African penguins live in large colonies along the coast of southern Africa, and prefer water temperatures between 40°F and 70°F. They use their own excrement, called guano, to build nests under bushes and rocks.


African penguins are carnivorous, eating fish and crustaceans. They rely heavily on sardines and anchovies, which are being overfished by humans.

Did you know?

The Zoo has hatched over 100 penguins, most of which have been sent to other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

African penguins have up to 70 feathers per square inch. These feathers are stiff and overlap in layers, trapping air against their skin. This makes their feathers both windproof and waterproof.

Seneca Park Zoo partners with SANCCOB, the largest volunteer-based wildlife organization in the world. Volunteers rehabilitate thousands of coastal birds every year that fall victim to oil spills or are orphaned due to lack of fish.

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