Penguin (Humboldt’s)

Penguin (Humboldt’s)

Piongain Pheiriúch

  • Scientific name: Spheniscus humboldti
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable
  • Habitat: Pacific coast of South America, offshore islands of Chile and Peru
  • Diet: Carnivore – anchovy, sardines, other small fish, squid

Penguins cannot fly – their ‘wings’ have become narrow bony flippers for swimming underwater. Humboldt’s penguins used to be hunted for their skins, meat and oil from the fat layer under the skin but now they are threatened by commercial fishing reducing their food supply, sea pollution, and increasing water temperatures. They dig underground burrows to shelter from the heat and to keep their eggs and chicks safe.

Keeper’s Secret

One of the first threats to Humboldt’s penguins was ‘poo’! Guano – the dried droppings of sea- birds – was collected for fertiliser in the 19th. century, disturbing and destroying penguin nesting sites.

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