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Penguin Gifts

Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their life on land and half in the oceans.

All About Galapagos Penguins

Galapagos penguins comprise a species of penguin that live only on and by, as their name suggests, the Galapagos Islands. They are listed as an endangered species by the IUCN; there are only about 1,200 Galapagos Penguins left in the world. They are the only species of penguin that lives north of the Equator.

The vast majority of Galapagos Penguins live by and on the coast of Isabela Island, the largest island in the archipelago. Some of their population, however, may be found by and on the coasts of Santiago Island and Floreana Island.They tend to remain near the Cromwell Current during the day to stay cool, and travel to land during the night.

On average, Galapagos Penguins measure 19 inches in length and weigh 5.5 pounds, making them the third smallest species of penguin in the world. Their heads are black with white markings; the upper parts of their bodies are black or dark grey; and the lower parts of their bodies are white. Adult Galapagos Penguins have two black bands across their breasts.

Being quite small, Galapagos Penguins have a number of natural predators; they usually fall prey to crabs, rats, snakes, predatory birds, seals, sea lions, and sharks. Human and volcanic activity, although they cannot be considered predators, also threaten the birds' population. Galapagos Penguins themselves feed on several species of small and thin schooling fish, including anchovies and sardines.

Before they mate, Galapagos Penguins molt, with the exception of unpaired males, who may molt during the breeding season. Galapagos Penguins will adjust their eating habits so as to gain weight for about a month before molting, as the process of molting consumes a large amount of energy. After this period ends, the birds molt and preen for about two weeks.

Galapagos Penguins mate in pairs that they choose for life. They tend to start breeding when the water cools to about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Galapagos Penguins make nests fairly close to the shore. Both penguins in each pair of parents incubate one or two eggs in their nest for 38-40 days, after which the egg(s) hatch. For about a month after an egg hatches, the young are not left alone, and their parents alternate guarding the chicks and retrieving food.

Presently, Galapagos Penguins as a species are threatened by climate change, ENSO, disease, predation, volcanic activity, unreliable food sources, infrastructures that promote tourism, and the hazard posed by illegal fishing. The life span of Galapagos Penguins is 15-20 years.

Penguin Gifts




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