Islands’ most fascinating species are the Galapagos penguins

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Located north of the Equator, the Galapagos penguin is the only species of penguin found there

If you want to visit Galapagos penguins, be sure to include islands like Fernandina and Isabela in your itinerary, as this is where most of them congregate! Remember that they still frequent, if somewhat less frequently and in much lower numbers, northern Santa Cruz, Santiago, Bartolome, and Floreana.

The Galapagos Penguin: An Uncommon Species

The sight of penguins in the tropics looks like something from a Dr. Seuss novel or fantasy. You would think they would be lounging on the beach beneath a beach umbrella, sipping cocktails from flippers, and sporting sunglasses. As unbelievable as it all may appear, seeing Galapagos penguins may be your last chance to experience something like that. You will also be crossing it off your list as one of the Galapagos Big 15!

Experts in Their Domain

Galapagos penguins are incredibly quick swimmers, despite their size sometimes being underestimated. You shouldn’t swim near to one of these small guys like you would a slow-moving sea turtle! As such, it will be difficult to catch a sight of them underwater. In their element, underwater, they are nothing like Michael Phelps, despite their odd and lumbering gait on land.

Some individuals are also curious about the posture of Galapagos penguins. They will appear somewhat stooped as they land. Penguins stoop slightly to provide shade and prevent their sunburned feet from burning due to the increased temperatures and direct sun exposure on the island.

Located north of the Equator, the Galapagos penguin is the only species of penguin found there
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Not Everything About Size Matters

Galapagos penguins are really the second smallest species of penguins, unlike their most well-known cousins, the emperor penguins. Within the penguin family, only Spheniscus mendiculus lives in a tropical environment. It may grow to a height of up to 50 cm and weighs around 2 kilos. Its unique white border, which extends in a circular pattern from the outer corner of its eyes to its chin, sets it apart from other penguins. Since young birds mostly have soft grey feathers and lack the white mark on their faces, it is easier to determine their age due to their mixture of white, black, and grey feathers.

Galapagos penguin
Located north of the Equator, the Galapagos penguin is the only species of penguin found there

The Beholder’s Dance Is Beautiful

The movements and noises that these peculiar creatures create are quite extraordinary, since they mostly rely on their body language and calls for communication. They produce a sound more like to that of a donkey than that of a bird, which they use to identify their partner or young. Their fluttering wings also resemble an odd dance, performed to entice potential partners or ward off intruders.

Real Romance

A few animals in the world who have lifelong partners are penguins. They will give each other affectionate hugs and fin taps on each other’s backs as soon as they meet. Moreover, they will touch their beaks in a manner akin to an eskimo kiss. The Galapagos penguins’ mating season is dependent on upwelling, which enables them to reproduce up to three times a year, in contrast to other parts of the world.

Galapagos Penguin
The lifelong partners of Galapagos penguins

Galapagos penguins use lava rock crevices and depressions as a way to shield their eggs from the equatorial sun when they are nesting. After the eggs hatch after 40 days, the male and female incubate them together and continue to bring food back to the nest until the chicks are mature enough to depart.

Updated:June 5, 2024

Published:May 21, 2024

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