Penguins


Scientific Name:
Spheniscus magellanicus

Feeding Type:
Carnivorous

Range:
Coast of Patagonia and the Falklands around the Horn to Southern Chile

Habitat:
Rocky beaches

Diet in the Wild:
Fish     

Diet at the Zoo: 
Capelin and Herring      

Description:
Magellan penguins are approximately 18 inches tall and weigh about 8 pounds. They have tightly packed feathers that keep water from their bodies and provide insulation. The bald patch around the eye regulates temperature.

Adaptation/Behavior:
Penguins “fly” in the water because they have similar wing motions as flying birds. Their bones are denser than flying birds, allowing them to dive. Penguins have a white stomach and black backs as camouflage. When the penguin is above its prey, the white of its stomach blends in with the light from above, and when the penguin is below its prey, the black on its back blends in with the darkness of the ocean floor.

Courtship/Breeding:
Spring is the breeding season for these penguins. Courtship involves head and body movement as well as vocalizations. One to three eggs are laid in shallow, underground burrows and hatch after incubation of 42 days. Both the male and the female care for the young.

Conservation:
Magellan penguins are at a lower risk.

Interesting Facts

  • Penguins are only found on the southern hemisphere
  • They swing their head from side to side to counteract near-sightedness.
  • Loose all their feathers once a year. Called catastrophic molting.
  • Their swimming speed ranges from 15 to 26 miles per hour.

Our Animals
Identified by colored bands on their wings. Males have bands on their right wing, and females on the left.