African Penguin

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African Penguin
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Spheniscus
Species: S. demersus
Binomial name
Spheniscus demersus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus), also known as the Black-footed Penguin (and formerly as the Jackass Penguin), is found on the south-western coast of Africa, living in colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with the largest colony on Dyer Island, near Kleinbaai. Two colonies were established by penguins in the 1980s on the mainland near Cape Town at Boulders Beach near Simon's Town and Stony Point in Betty's Bay. Mainland colonies probably only became possible in recent times due to the reduction of predator numbers, although the Betty's Bay colony has been attacked by leopards. The only other mainland colony is in Namibia, but it is not known when this was established.

The African Penguin may live up to 20 years. It grows up to 65 cm tall and weighs up to 3 kg. They eat fish, crabs and squids. The breeding time is 38 days.

Boulders Beach is a tourist attraction, for the beach, swimming and the penguins. The penguins will allow people to approach them as close as a meter (three ft).

The closest relatives of the African Penguins are the Humboldt and Magellanic penguins found in southern South America and the Galápagos Penguin found in the Pacific Ocean near the equator.

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