GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Scientific name: Spheniscus humboldti
  • Size: Feathers - 2.1 cms
  • Height: 70 centimetres
  • Weight: 3.6 - 4 kilograms

REPRODUCTION

  • Breeding: Springtime/Autumn
  • Nest: Caves and Under protected areas
  • Eggs: 1 - 3 (average 2) Incubate forty days
  • Young: Eat regurgitated food, attempt swimming at three months
  • Lifespan: 15 - 20 years (wild) up to 30 years (captivity)

DIET

  • Wild: Anchovies, squid and crustaceans
  • Captive: Sprats, herring, vitamins & salt tablets

HABITAT/RANGE

  • Coastal Islands, Peru and Chile, found only in Southern Hemisphere

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Bones: Solid (as opposed to hollow bones in flying birds). Act as ballast while diving.
  • Feathers: 2 layers - top layer lies flat & overlaps to stop wind & water. Bottom layer 'downy' for warmth.
  • Swimming Speed: Up to 25mph. Agile in water.
  • Feet: Webbed, serve as rudder. Claws at end for climbing.
  • Insulation: 80% due to feathers, 20% due to blubber.
  • Mouth: Inside bill, spiky spines pointing towards the throat help in swallowing live food.

Every summer our Humboldt Penguins go through their annual moult. This moult is catastrophic ~ the birds lose all their feathers before growing a completely new plumage.

Immediately prior to the moult the penguins gorge themselves on fish instinctively knowing they are about to lose their waterproof covering for a few weeks.

After gorging the penguins swell up - including their flippers. At the Park this results in the keepers needing to cut off their identification tags to allow for expansion before replacing them once their flippers have returned to normal!