humboldt penguin

Spheniscus humboldti  
Wing Length:6"–7"
Weight:Up to 9 lbs
Geographic Distribution:Peru and Chile along the Humboldt current
Habitat:Rocky shores and coastal islands
Wild Diet:94% schooling fish: sardines, anchoveta, and pilchard; 5% squid; 1% crustaceans
Zoo Diet:A variety of fish: lake and marine smelt, capelin, herring, depending on availability; birds get a daily vitamin supplement
Status in the Wild:Vulnerable 
Location:The Living Coast

Humboldt penguins have a black coloration on their backs, and a white underside generally with one black breast band. Short feathers cover most of their bodies and protect them from the cold water. Penguins have a thick layer of fat that helps keep them warm, but their main source of warmth is their feathers and down. Their short, overlapping feathers average 100 feathers per square inch and create a waterproof covering. They have a streamlined, torpedo-shaped body that helps them move quickly in the water. They also have a bare face and feet, which allows for heat dissipation. They have strong, narrow, stiff wings that are often mistaken for flippers.

• Humboldt penguins can swim as fast as 17 miles per hour.

• They have a salt extraction gland that acts as a filter system so they can drink salt water. This gland is located right below their eye.

• Nests are made by burrowing into guano. When guano is harvested for fertilizer they lose their nesting sites.

• They are named after German scientist Alexander Von Humboldt.

• Penguin coloration protects them from predators. When they are in the water, their white belly makes them hard to see from below, and their black back makes them hard to see from above.