The main reason for tourists and nature lovers to visit the Galapagos Islands is the multitude of animals freely enjoying themselves on the breathtaking Island.
One of the fascinating things that you have the opportunity to see when cruising in the Galapagos Islands, is the Galapagos Penguin.
Here are some facts to learn about these amazing Island animals:
What they look like
Galapagos penguins are the smallest of the banded penguins, and apparently they have no subspecies.
The Galapagos penguins are easy to recognize because they have black feathers on most of their body, with some distinctive white marks on their face, beak, and chest.
The face is black with a C-shaped thin white line that starts from the top of each eye and continues around the head down to the throat area. The beak is long and slender; the upper part is black while the bottom starts with a pink color at the base, blends into white at the middle and ends with a black tip. Starting from each leg and going up to the top of its chest, it has the thick black horseshoe-shaped stripe typical of the banded penguins. If you look closely you’ll find that the chest and abdomen may have few small, completely random, rounded dark spots.
Where they live
Galapagos penguins are the only species that can reach waters of the northern hemisphere of the earth, where the climate is warm and tropical, entirely different from the habitats of the larger species.
Their habitat is generally warm with temperatures between 59 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. They live surrounded by huge rocky shores with cavity formations that they use for shelter and protection from sunlight as well as sandy beaches.
Galapagos penguins are a sedentary species that stay near their colony and only venture to go as far as 3 miles away. In fact, they live in quite small communities compared to other penguin species, however they are well organized and coordinated to hunt in groups.
Another very interesting fact is that these penguins are the least noisy of the 17 penguin species.
What they eat
These penguins feed on pelagic fish like anchovies, sardines, and mullet. They generally watch their prey from below and catch it by surprise. Apparently the reason why they do not swim far away from the coast is because the surrounding waters of the Galapagos Islands are a place where sharks usually roam.
The reproduction process
Galapagos penguins are monogamous and maintain 90% fidelity. They do not have a regular reproduction season, however it usually occurs from April to May and from August to September. Females lay two eggs about the same size in nests built within volcanic rock cavities. Chicks leave the nest 60 days later, and they can feed themselves a few months later.
Sexual maturity: Females: 3 to 4 years. Males: 4 to 6 years.
Incubation period: 38 to 42 days.
Normal clutch: Two eggs. Up to 4/year
And, the Galapagos penguins are just one of the amazing animals you can see when visiting the beautiful Galapagos Islands. So, in case you would love to see exotic animals and explore the Island’s interesting volcanic geology, and its rich flora and fauna you should visit the beautiful, breathtaking Galapagos Islands.