Humboldt Penguin

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Humboldt Penguin
At Islas Ballestas, Peru
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Spheniscus
Species: S. humboldti
Binomial name
Spheniscus humboldti
Meyen, 1834
Distribution of the Humboldt Penguin

The Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) (also termed Peruvian Penguin, or Patranca) is a South American penguin, that breeds in coastal Peru and Chile. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Magellanic Penguin and the Galápagos Penguin. The penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in, which is itself named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer.

Humboldt Penguins are medium-sized penguins, growing to 56–70 cm (22–28 in) long and a weight of 3.6-5.9 kg (8-13 lbs).[2][3] They have a black head with a white border that runs from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, and joins at the throat. They have blackish-grey upperparts and whitish underparts, with a black breast-band that extends down the flanks to the thigh. They have a fleshy-pink base to the bill. Juveniles have dark heads and no breast-band. They have spines on their tongue which they use to hold their prey.

Range and habitat[edit]

Humboldt Penguins nest on islands and rocky coasts, burrowing holes in guano and sometimes using scrapes or caves. In South America the Humboldt Penguin is found only along the Pacific coast,[4] and the range of the Humboldt Penguin overlaps that of the Magellanic Penguin on the central Chilean coast. It is vagrant in Ecuador and Colombia.[5]

Conservation[edit]

Due to a declining population caused in part by over-fishing, climate change, and ocean acidification, the current status of the Humboldt penguin is threatened,[6] Historically it was the victim of guano over-exploitation. Penguins are also declining in numbers due to habitat destruction. The current population is estimated at between 3,300 and 12,000. In August 2010 the Humboldt penguin of Chile and Peru, was granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.[6]

Raising of young[edit]

In 2009 at a zoo in Bremerhaven, Germany, two adult male Humboldt penguins adopted an egg that had been abandoned by its biological parents. After the egg hatched, the two male penguins raised, protected, cared for, and fed the chick in the same manner that regular penguin couples raise their own biological offspring.

Escape from Tokyo Zoo[edit]

One of the 135 Humboldt penguins from Tokyo Sea Life Park (Kasai Rinkai Suizokuen) thrived in Tokyo Bay for 82 days after apparently scaling the 13 feet high wall and through the fence into the bay.[7] The penguin, known only by its number (#337), was recaptured by the zoo keepers in late May 2012.[8]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]