African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin
African Penguin African Penguin African Penguin African Penguin African Penguin
African Penguin
 
         African Penguin
Stony Point, Betty's Bay

Africa has two flightless bird species: the Ostrich, adapted to terrestrial life and the African Penguin, adapted to marine existence. The African Penguin colonizes offshore islands and nests on the mainland only at three places in South Africa. The site at Stony Point, Betty's Bay is one of the only three land-based colonies and for this reason it is treasured.

The first nest was noticed in 1982. The Municipality erected a fence and a viewing platform for the conservation of the penguins. The number of penguins you may see from the viewing platform will depend on time of day. The best viewing times are early morning and evening, particularly from April to June.

Penguins can reach speeds of up to 20 km per hour and cruise at 4 - 7 km per hour. They will seek prey at depths of 100 m, but normally dive to about 35 m. Adults stand about 65 cm tall and the females weigh about 3 kg, males about 0,5 kg more. They live 20 - 25 years and eat about 540 gram of sardines, pilchards, squid etc. per day.

African Penguins reach sexual maturity between 2 and 4 years of age. They usually mate for life. Penguin pairs will return to and defend their nest each year for as long as 15 years. They breed from February to October. The nest, often a deep burrow, takes some two weeks to complete. The nests are line with pads of feathers or plant material. The eggs, rather round in shape and about 7 x 6 cm, are pure white when new laid, but stain heavily as time passes. If the eggs are predated, the female often lays again about six weeks later. Parents alternate on the nest. One incubates while the other forages. The eggs hatch after 38 - 41 days and the nestlings, usually two, are fed regurgitated fish by both birds for about 11 weeks. They consume about 25 kg of fish before they are big enough to leave the nest.

The African Penguin, Speniscus demersus is the only species of the 18 species worldwide, breeding around African coasts. Penguins occur only in the Southern Hemisphere. Three other species are seen in this region, but are rare vagrants. Today, the total population of African Penguins is estimated to be around 170 000 adults and has suffered a decline of 90 % in the past 60 years. The African Penguin is listed as Vulnerable in the Red Data book.

African Penguin
African Penguin
 
African Penguin
African Penguin
 

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