Galapagos Penguin

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Galpagos Penguin
Conservation status: Endangered
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Sphenisciformes
Family:Spheniscidae
Genus:Spheniscus
Species:S. mendiculus
Binomial name
Spheniscus mendiculus
Sundevall, 1871

The Galpagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is a penguin endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It is the only penguin to live on the equator. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Magellanic Penguin and the Humboldt Penguin.

Galpagos Penguins grow to 53 cm tall. They have a black head with a white border running from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, to join on the throat. They have blackish-grey upperparts and whitish underparts, with two black bands across the breast, the lower band extending down the flanks to the thigh. Juveniles differ in having a wholly dark head, greyer on side and chin, and no breast-band.

The Galpagos Penguin chooses a mate for life. It lasys one or two eggs in places such as caves and crevices where the shadow will prevent the eggs to overheat. One parent will always stay with the eggs or chicks while the other will be gone for several days to feed. If there is not enough food available, the nest may be abandoned.

The species is endangered, with an estimated population size of 600 pairs only. The population underwent an alarming decline of 65% since the mid-1990s which makes it the rarest penguin species (a status which is often falsely attributed to the Yellow-eyed penguin). In recent decades this species has been influenced by the effects of the El Nio Southern Oscillation on the availability of shoaling fish but anthropogenic factors (e.g. oil pollution, fishing bycatch and competition) also add to the ongoing demise of this species. On Isabela island, the introduced cats, dogs and rats may attack this penguin and destroy its nests.

External link

it:Spheniscus mendiculus ja:ガラパゴスペンギン

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