Important African Penguin Facts for Kids
When you think of penguins, African penguins might not be the image that pops into your head. This type of penguin species is a bit larger in size than the most common Adelie penguin. Although they are significantly larger than Adelie penguins, African penguins are still only medium sized species. Most African penguins are about 40 inches tall and about 4.5 kg in weight.
Adult and young and African penguins look slightly different from one another. Adult African penguins have a black marking on their back, white faces and a black band that stretches across their breasts. In contrast, young African penguins have a back that is bluish grey, no black band across their breast and no white face. It is possible to see tiny black specks on the bellies of young African penguins.
African penguins have a unique body type that makes it difficult for them to walk. On land they walk around very clumsily, but they are incredibly skilled swimmers. Their swimming skills are what they use to catch prey in the water. Most African penguins typically eat sardines, pilchards, squid and crustaceans. It is possible for most African penguins to dive more than 20 to 30 miles deep when they are looking for food. They might be commonly referred to as the “jackass penguin” due to their braying donkey sound, but there are many other characteristics that make them unique.
Lifespan of African Penguins
This species of penguins is threatened and is actually endangered to the point that it is labeled as vulnerable. This is due to the fact that only about 10% of the original African penguin population still exists. This means that in the entire world there are less than 180,000 species of African penguins in existence. African penguins that do survive have an average lifespan of about 20 years, which is similar to Adelie penguins. Most African penguins start to breed by the age of 4 and they are one of the few monogamous creatures. Penguins primarily live in pairs for their adult lives.
Most African penguins nest during the year and the prime breeding season is between March and May. Most African penguins will nest in burrows, bushes or even beneath boulders as long as they have shelter of some type. The predator that this penguin has to be on the lookout for are feral cats.