He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalms 91:4 KJV)
When we went to the Lowry Park Zoo yesterday and enjoyed seeing the normal birds and animals that our Lord has created for us to observe. The African Penguins need to be highlighted. One young immature penguin caught my attention. He or she was in the process of shedding it “peach fuzz.” (That is my term.)
The top photo shows a young penguin is already wearing a normal “coat of feathers.” Then I spotted a younger African Penguin standing next to its parent. Sizes of parent and youth were almost the same, but appearances were quite different.
When it turned around, I thought, that is one that only a mother could love. :)
“The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is also known as the Blackfooted Penguin. …They have a black stripe and black spots on the chest, the spots being unique for every penguin, like human fingerprints. They have pink sweat glands above their eyes. The hotter the penguin gets, the more blood is sent to these sweat glands so it may be cooled by the surrounding air, thus making the glands more pink. The males are larger than the females and have larger beaks,” (from Lowry Park Zoo Penguins) That is what that pink is above the eyes. They belong to the Spheniscidae – Penguins Family.
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. It is a charismatic species and is popular with tourists in the region.
As their name suggests, African penguins live in Africa. They are mostly found on small islands off the coast of southern Africa. African penguins have two nicknames — black-footed penguins and jackass penguins. The first name comes from their black feet. The second comes from the sound they make. When African penguins call out, they shriek like donkeys.
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.
“Baby African penguins have gray down feathers covering their entire bodies when they first break out of the shells. Then, their backs turn gray-blue and their bellies white. They don’t yet have white bands on their faces and black bands across their chests like their parents. Baby African penguins are helpless, so their parents do not leave them alone. There is always one parent staying home to take care of the young. The other goes out to catch fish and squid. Baby African penguins grow fast. In about 8-18 weeks, they are ready to bid their parents goodbye and live by themselves.” (edhelper.com)
(Information from various websites)
- African Penguin Information – Lowry Park Zoo
- Penguin World
- African Penguin – Wikipedia
- Sounds – xeno-canto
- Spheniscidae – Penguins Family
Here are all the photos I took of the Penguins. Some are not so good, but I was trying to capture my little “peach fuzz” penguin.