Sunday, May 12, 2013

African 'Black-Footed' Penguin

The only penguin on the African continent......

The various species of penguins are usually confined and restricted to the latitudes of the Antarctic.  Some, however, have spread further north and are to be found on the numerous small islands which are known as sub-Antarctic.  One penguin lives in the cold waters of the Humboldt current, which flows along the Peruvian coast, and there is also the tiny Galapagos penguin which lives in the islands of that archipelago - which straddles the Equator.

The black-footed penguin is the only representative of its family on the African continent.
This particular penguin does not migrate over long distances like its cousins; it is quite content to reach the open sea when it has successfully brought up its young, in order to gorge on fish and accumulate reserves of fat, in the cool waters between Africa and the Antarctic ocean. [Scroll down to the bottom of this post for an additional blog link about the mystery from the center of Antarctica.]

The black-footed penguin nests on the small islands around Africa where large colonies are established.  The African Penguin's nest is dug out of sandy soil, sometimes as a shallow depression, sometimes as a real trench in the bottom of which the birds will shelter from the heat of the sun.  The female lays two eggs and the pair take turns at covering them.   ...Later, the two parents share the responsibility for the feeding of their progeny.  It's not surprising that one would be amazed at how the young, along with their parents, can even recognize each other amid the vast array of other penguins that are all gathered around each other.  I have heard before, that they seem to recognize each other's voices and how finding their identity amongst the crowd is simply a matter of hearing.

Of the 1.5-million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th-century. African 'Black-Footed' Penguin populations, which breed in Namibia and South Africa, have declined by 95 percent since pre-industrial times. Commercial fisheries have forced these penguins to search for prey farther off shore, as well as making them eat less nutritious prey, since their preferred prey has become scarce.  Global climate change is also affecting these penguins' prey abundance.

Additional Resources:

Random Blog Link:  "Lake Vostok - Mystery @ the Center of Antarctica"

---End of Post "African 'Black-Footed' Penguin

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