African Black Footed Penguin

Spheniscus demersus

The African Black-footed Penguin is a species of penguin confined to southern African waters. Like all penguins it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat.

Adults weigh on average 4.9-7.7 lbs and are 24-28 in tall. It has distinctive pink patches of skin above the eyes and a black facial mask; the body upperparts are black and sharply delineated from the white underparts, which are spotted and marked with a black band. This pink gland above their eyes helps them to cope with changing climates. When the temperature gets hotter, the body of the African Penguin sends more blood to these glands to be cooled by the air surrounding it. This then causes the gland to turn a darker shade of pink.

The African Penguin is a pursuit diver and feeds primarily on fish and squid.

Once extremely numerous, the African Penguin is declining due to a combination of threats and is classified as endangered. Of the 1.5-million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th-century. African penguin populations, which breed in Namibia and South Africa, have declined by 95 percent since preindustrial times.