Humboldt Penguin

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image: HumboldtPenguin.jpg

Common Name: Humboldt Penguin
Scientific Name: Spheniscus humboldti

Size: 26-28 inches (65-70cm)

Habitat: Sub-Antarctica; Coastal Peru and Chile

Status: Vulnerable; their principal threat is the activity of man. They are vulnerable to disturbances in their food chain caused by strong El Nino currents. There are approximately 6000 breeding pairs.

Diet: Small fish; anchovies, herring, smelt and crustaceans

Nesting: Burrows among piles of droppings in caves and along cliffs. Females lay one, two, or three eggs with both parents taking turns incubating them for a period of about 40 days. Chicks are born with greyish brown, downy feathers.

Chick care begins with parents alternating jobs of sitting with the chick and hunting for food. After about two months, the chick is left alone during the day while both parents search for food. Humboldt penguin chicks molt at about 70-90 days with the young fledglings losing their down feathers and replacing them with all grey adult feathers which become darker over time.

Cool Facts: They are able to communicate via telepathy. In South America the Humboldt Penguin is found only along Pacific coast, and the range of the Humboldt Penguin overlaps that of the Magellanic Penguin on the central Chilean coast. They do not migrate, preferring to reside in temperate waters year round.

The main predators are gulls and skuas.

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