African Penguin

Animal Unique | African Penguin | The African penguin, also known as the Black-footed Penguin is a penguin species, confined to the southern African waters. It is also commonly known as the "Jackass" Penguin for its donkey-like bray, although several species of South American penguins produce the same sound. African penguins, Spheniscus demersus, are on the coast and islands of southern Africa and Namibia. DThe African penguin is the only penguin species that breeds in Africa, and it is found nowhere else. The distribution coincides roughly with the cold, nutrient rich Benguela Current. The distribution of African penguins is also limited by the availability of offshore islands as breeding grounds.

African penguins are the only penguin species found in Africa. They are also referred to as the "jackass penguin" because of its ability to emit a loud, braying donkey-like call. This medium sized penguin has a robust body with black feathers on the back and white plumage with black markings on the chest and abdomen. They also have a characteristic U-shaped white band around the eye of the chin toward the beak, and a horseshoe-shaped black band across the chest. Young people have gray-blue plumage darker with age until they have the same color and markings as adults when they are about three years old.

Penguins are "waterproof" because of the small muscles found at the base of their feathers used to tightly bind the feathers to the body and because their feathers waterproof by a waxy substance. The wax is distributed from the base of the tail to the ends of the springs and the penguins smooth. Their feathers muscles used to grip the body feathers are also used to keep their feathers, so that a layer of warm air can be trapped between their bodies and springs. African penguins have a unique adaptations to life in the temperate zone. They restrict their activities to daylight nesting on land until the early morning and early evening to avoid too much sun. They build their nests, where is the protection from excessive solar radiation. Penguins breed not usually the whole day to spend in the ocean, or remain on the beach in large groups and often swim to keep cool.

African penguins primarily feed on shallower pelagic fish such as anchovies, sardines (sardines), horse mackerel and herring around, supplemented with squid and crustaceans. There are regional differences in diet, and in some regions have undergone major changes in dietary management of their human prey. When hunting for prey, African penguins can reach a top speed of close to 20 km / h. Their predators in the ocean include sharks, seals and, on occasion, killer whales. Land-based enemies include mongoose, genet, domestic cats, and the Kelp Gull, their eggs and newborn chicks steals.

African penguins breed of between two to six years old, but normally four years. As with most other penguins, African penguins colonial races, especially on rocky islands off the coast, or nest in holes they dig themselves, or in depressions under boulders or bushes. Historically nests were excavated in the cover of guano that existed in most islands. However, by removing the guano for commercial purposes, the surface nests and nests under bushes and other objects more often. Shelter at the nest site is important for shade (and protection against the temperate climate) and for protection against predators of eggs and chicks to offer.

Unlike many other birds, African penguins have an extended breeding season. In most colonies, birds will at some point of the present breeding throughout the year. African penguins are monogamous, and the same pair will generally return to the same colony, and often the same nest each year. Penguins are adapted primarily to cool the aquatic environment and the need to reduce heat loss, it is important for all penguins. However, some species, including the African penguin, have been able to successfully exploit warm terrestrial environments. Behavioral and physiological adaptations have enabled the African penguin to the problem of over-insulated life on land in a temperate climate to overcome.

Some of the African penguin colonies are accessible to tourists. Due to the very nature of the nervous penguin, tourist activities on these sites must be very strictly controlled. African penguins at Boulders Beach colony in Simons Town (a mainland site near Cape Town) are particularly less nervous than other African penguins, and are very tame and used to people. However, as a mainland site, the colony is exposed to threats that are not a problem on the island colonies. These include predation by terrestrial predators, and exposure to disease by disease-carrying mosquitoes and terrestrial birds.

The population of African penguins have decreased and it is estimated that the current size is only 10 percent of what it was at the beginning of the 20th century. Originally, the decline in numbers was the result of the over-collection of eggs for food and disruption caused by the collection of guano for fertilizer. Today, however, fish stocks depleted due to overfishing, and the risk of oil pollution are the most relevant threats to the survival of the African Penguin by numerous oil spills throughout its habitat, African penguins are listed as endangered. This species is also threatened by reduced availability of food resources due to overfishing and competition with seals for breeding.

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