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The Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) is a South American penguin, breeding in coastal Peru and Chile. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Magellanic Penguin and the Galapagos Penguin. The penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in, which is itself named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer.
Humboldt Penguins are medium-sized penguins, growing to 65-70 cm (26-28 in) long and a weight of 3.6-5.9 kg . 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 a black breast-band extending down the flanks to the thigh. They have a fleshy-pink base to the bill. Juveniles have dark heads and no breast-band. They have spines on their tongue which they use to hold their prey.
Range and habitat
Humboldt Penguins nest on islands and rocky coasts, burrowing holes in guano and sometimes using scrapes or caves. In South America the Humboldt Penguin is found only along Pacific coast, and the range of the Humboldt Penguin overlaps that of the Magellanic Penguin on the central Chilean coast.C. Michael Hogan (2008) Magellanic Penguin, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
The current status of this penguin is vulnerable, due to a declining population caused in part by over-fishing. Historically it was the victim of guano over-exploitation. Penguins are also declining in numbers due to habitat destruction. The current population is estimated at between 3,300 and 12,000.
Raising of young
In 2009 at a zoo in Bremerhaven, Germany, two adult male Humboldt penguins adopted an egg that had been abandoned by its biological parents. After the egg hatched, the two male penguins raised, protected, cared for, and fed the chick in the same manner that regular penguin couples raise their own biological offspring.
Database entry includes justification for why this species is vulnerable
BirdLife Species Factsheet
Humbolt Penguins at Marwell
File:Spheniscus humboldti -Dublin Zoo -swimming-8a.jpg|At Dublin Zoo
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Humboldt Penguin