There are 16 identified species of penguins living in the world today. Most people know penguins as the bird that lives most of its life in freezing temperatures, and this is partially right. Yes, penguins do live near the Antarctica but there some species like the Galapagos, who prefer living near the Equator. This piece of writing talks about the Humboldt penguin which is another known species. The Humboldt penguin shares its name with the chilly Humboldt Current, which flows to the north of the Antarctica along the Pacific coast of South America.
Humboldt Penguin Interesting Facts
The penguin and the oceanic current were named after Alexander von Humboldt, a well-known 18th century explorer who described the concept of a penguin to normal civilians. One of the most interesting Humboldt penguin facts is that the bird is quite shy in nature and never hunts in big groups. They prefer searching for food small numbers.
- The scientific name of the Humboldt penguin is Spheniscus humboldti and it is also known as Peruvian penguin. This penguin can only be seen in South America and it is mainly seen in coastal areas of Peru and Chile.
- Humboldt penguins stand at least 22 to 26 inches tall and weigh around 19 lb. The life span of Humboldt penguin in the wild is 15 years while in captivity the penguin can live for almost 30 years.
- The physical appearance of a Humboldt penguin is very similar to the Magellanic penguin and it becomes really difficult to distinguish between both of them. From the front, Magellanic penguins have two neck bands while Humboldts have just one. Adult Humboldts have a white front and a black-brown back and head.
- Other than brown, black and white, Humboldt penguins also showcase another color; pink. These penguins have pink patches on their face, feet and on the underside of their wings. These pink patches play a very important role in keeping the body temperature cool during warm temperatures.
- Their diet consists of small fish such as anchovies and sardines. To make hunting easy, they prefer hunting in small groups. Humboldts circle around their prey and the attack from all sides.
- There is no set time for mating for Humboldt penguins. They can start mating any time of the year. It all depends on the availability of the food, more the food the more they will engage in it.
- Humboldt penguins reach sexual maturity between 2 to 7 years of age. They make nests or burrows in caves, in cracks of big rocks, or sometimes in open spaces. A female Humboldt penguin can lay 1, 2 or 3 eggs with both parents taking turns for incubation of eggs for 40 days.
- Once the offspring is born, both parents take turns and go hunting. After about 75 days, both the parents leave the baby Humboldt alone and look for food together. If the food is scarce, only the eldest offspring is fed while the younger one dies of starvation.
- Like every other species, Humboldt penguins have excellent eyesight on land and under water. With the help of their wings, these penguins can swim as fast as 20 miles per hour.
- While being on land or under water, they have to be careful from predators like sea-lions, sharks, foxes, vultures, snakes, leopard seals, killer whales, cats and dogs.
- Like humans, even penguins can't tolerate excess salt in their water and to ensure that excess salt doesn't enter their system, they use a gland in their body which helps them to drink salt water with ease. The excess salt is then thrown out of the body.
- The current status of Humboldt penguin is threatened due to the rise in fishing activities. In addition to fishing, hundreds of penguins are killed every year when they get entangled in fishing nets and due to ocean pollution.
Human activity is one of the main causes of declining penguin population. It is very essential that we start some conversation steps now otherwise no one will be able to save this species from extinction.