The Galapagos Penguin, Spheniscus mendiculus, is not only adorable, they also remain quite unique. They happen to be the only penguin found north of the equator.
They constitute a variety of banded penguin that has the ability to survive in its endemic range due to a specific combination of environmental factors: two cold ocean currents meet near their habitat.
Therefore, these highly resilient creatures survive by spending the majority of their time in the cool water.
Galapagos Penguin Physical Description
The Spheniscus mendiculus ranks as a diminutive variety of penguin. The adults only average about 19 in (49 cm) in length. Their weight rarely exceeds 5.5 lb (2.5 kg).
In fact, the Galapagos Penguin remains the second smallest of all related species that humans know of.
Like many of the other types of flightless birds known, they display sexual dimorphism. In this animal, this involves the females being slightly smaller in size than the males.
Their coloring remains the standard combination of black and white common to all penguins.
Galapagos Penguin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Not surprisingly, the endemic habitat range of the Spheniscus mendiculus also remains restricted to a portion of the Galapagos Islands. Currently, fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs of this animal, which mates for life, are known to exist.
In fact, this makes them the rarest of all species of penguin that we know of.
They make their nests within 160 ft (50 m) of the water and lay their eggs are in caves or crevices, to protect them from the sun.
Principle predators include snakes, hawks, sharks, sea lions, and fur seals. Though under legal protection, the bird occasionally becomes trapped in fishing nets.