Galapagos penguin Facts

Galapagos penguin Facts
Galapagos penguin is the smallest species of South American penguins. It is an endemic species for Galapagos Islands (it cannot be found anywhere else). Galapagos penguin is the only species of penguin that inhabits equator and parts of northern hemisphere. Changes in the temperature of water, characterized by rapid decline of food sources (known as El Nino Southern Oscillations), are responsible for drastic decline in the number of Galapagos penguins in the wild. With less than 1000 breeding couples left on Galapagos Islands, this species of penguin is classified as endangered.
Interesting Galapagos penguin Facts:
Galapagos penguin can reach 19 to 20 inches in height and 4.4 to 8.8 pounds of weight. Females are smaller than males.
Galapagos penguin has black plumage on the head and dorsal side of the body and white plumage on the belly. It has white lines that run from the corners of the eyes to the base of throat and two black bands, shaped like upside down oriented horseshoe, on the belly.
Galapagos penguin has longer and more slender bill compared with other species of penguins. It also has patches of bare skin around eyes and at the base of the bill.
Galapagos penguin lives in areas with low temperature of water and high temperature of air. It spends most part of the day in the water, where it collects food and "hides" from merciless sun.
Galapagos penguin sleeps in the burrows on the solid ground with flippers oriented outwards.
Galapagos penguin often stands with its flippers extended (to radiate excess heat) and walks slightly hunched to keep its bare feet in the shade (to prevent sunburns).
Galapagos penguin is a carnivore. Its diet is based on fish (such as mullet and sardines) and crustaceans.
Galapagos penguin doesn't have to swim long distances to find food because of the strong currents which ensure plenty of food in the coastal areas.
Natural enemies of Galapagos penguins are owls, hawks, snakes, sharks, sea lions and fur seals.
Mating season of Galapagos penguin depends on the available food sources. It usually takes place between May and January.
Galapagos penguins form couples that last for a lifetime. They preen each other and tap one another with their bills to strengthen their relationship.
Females lays 2 eggs in the cracks or depressions made of lava flows. Both male and female participate in the incubation of eggs during a period of 40 days.
Both parents provide food for their chicks. Young Galapagos penguins develop sun-protective feathers at the age of 30 days and they fledge at the age of 65 days.
Galapagos penguins become ready for the independent life at the age of 3 to 6 months. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 3 to 8 years.
Galapagos penguin can survive 15 to 20 years in the wild.

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