Galapagos Penguin Facts
- Firstly, the Galapagos Penguin, Spheniscus mendiculus, is not only adorable, it also remains quite unique. This occurs because it happens to be the only penguin found north of the equator.
- It also constitutes a variety of banded penguin that has a unique ability to survive in its endemic range. This occurs as the result of a very specific combination of environmental factors.
- This combination consists of two cold ocean currents actually meeting near its habitat. Therefore, this highly resilient creature survives by spending the majority of its time in the cool water.
Galapagos Penguin Physical Description
The Galapagos Penguin ranks as a quite diminutive variety of penguin. As a result, the adults only average about 19 in (49 cm) in length. In addition to this, its weight rarely exceeds 5.5 lb (2.5 kg).
In fact, this beautiful penguin remains the second smallest of all related species known to man.
Also, like many of the other types of flightless birds known to exist, it displays sexual dimorphism. In this animal, this involves the females being slightly smaller in size than the males.
Finally, its coloring remains the standard combination of black and white common to all penguins.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Sphenisciformes
- Family: Spheniscidae
- Genus: Spheniscus
- Species: S. mendiculus
Galapagos Penguin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Not surprisingly, the endemic habitat range of the Galapagos Penguin also remains restricted. It only lives in a portion of the Galapagos Islands. Sadly, this also makes the animal extremely vulnerable.
Currently, fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs of this animal, which mates for life, appear to exist. In fact, this makes it the rarest of all species of penguin currently known to science.
Individuals make their nests within 160 ft (50 m) of the water and lay their eggs in caves or crevices, to protect them from the sun.
Further, its principle predators include snakes, hawks, sharks, sea lions, and fur seals. Finally, though under legal protection, the bird occasionally becomes trapped in fishing nets.