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African Penguin (endangered) - Singapore

Ralph de Zilva

Cedar Creek, Australia

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SOLD 2 GREETING CARDS on 04.12.2011

Nikon D700 & Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lens

African Penguins forage in the open sea, where they pursue pelagic fish such as pilchards and anchovies (e.g. Engraulis capensis), and marine invertebrates such as squid and small crustaceans. A penguin may consume up to 540 grams of prey every day, but this may increase to over 1 kg when raising older chicks.

The African Penguin is monogamous. It breeds in colonies, and pairs return to the same site each year. The African Penguin has an extended breeding season, with nesting usually peaking from March to May in South Africa, and November and December in Namibia. A clutch of two eggs are laid either in burrows dug in guano, or scrapes in the sand under boulders or bushes. Incubation is undertaken equally by both parents for about 40 days. At least one parent guards the chicks until about 30 days, whereafter the chick joins a creche with other chicks, and both parents head out to sea to forage each day.
Chicks fledge at 60 to 130 days, the timing depending on environmental factors such as quality and availability of food. The fledged chick then go to sea on their own and return to their natal colony after a lengthy time period of 12-22 months to molt into adult plumage.
When penguins molt, they are unable to forage as their new feathers are not waterproof yet; therefore they fast over the entire molting period, which in African Penguins takes about 20 days.

The average lifespan of an African Penguin is 10 to 27 years in the wild, and possibly longer in captivity. However, the African Penguin may often fall to predators.
Their predators in the ocean include sharks, Cape Fur Seals and, on occasion, orcas. Land-based enemies include mongooses, genets, domestic cats, and the Kelp Gull which steals their eggs and newborn chicks.
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.[

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