At 2-4 months, juvenile African penguins leave the colony and later return to breed at 4-6 years.
Once an African penguin develops its juvenile plumage at about 2-4 months of age, it will leave the colony. On gaining independence, juvenile African penguins disperse up to 2,000 kilometers from their natal colonies, with those from the east heading west, and those from the west and south moving north.
Most birds that survive, later return to their natal colony to moult and breed, although the growth of some colonies has been attributed to the immigration of first-time breeders tracking food availability. The average age at first breeding is thought to be 4-6 years.
Adult African penguins generally remain within 400 kilometers of their breeding locality, although they have been recorded up to 900 kilometers away.
Sources: (BirdLife International, 2016; Cooper, 1978; Crawford, Kemper, & Underhill, 2013; Crawford, et al., 2006, 2008; Hockey, Dean, & Ryan, 2005; Pearce, 2011; Randall, et al., 1987; Shannon & Crawford, 1999; Sherley et al., 2014; Whittington, Klages, Crawford, Wolfaardt, & Kemper, 2005)
Image: Selbe Lynn