African Penguin

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The black and white markings of the African penguin help to camouflage it from both, aquatic and aerial, predators.

Adult African penguins stand at 45-60 centimeters and weigh an average of 3.1 kilograms.

Black-footed penguins have black plumage on their backs and white feathers with variable amount of black spotting on the breast and belly. They can be recognized by the broad, black breast-band that straps across the top of the chest and frames the stomach. These penguins also have a horseshoe-shaped white band that travels from the bird’s neck and around the back of the head to the beak. White, bare skin resides over the eyes in a horseshoe-shape that becomes bright pinkish-red in very hot conditions.

These achromatic markings serve as camouflage to predators as the white of the belly blends in with the light coming in from the surface of the water when viewed by aquatic predators from below and the dark of the back obscures the penguin into the darkness of the ocean depths when viewed by aerial predators from above.

Sources: (BirdLife International, 2016; Cooper, 1978; Pearce, 2011; Stefoff, 2005)
Image: JamesDeMers

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