African Penguin Trivia

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Collecting African penguin guano is forbidden.
True
Guano is now forbidden in fertilizer, which has reduced the economic importance of black-footed penguins for humans.
False

What is the African penguin’s population trend?
Decreasing
Since the early 1900s, the African penguin population has been in decline.
Increasing
Stable
Unknown

What is the African penguin’s parental investment?
Both, Maternal & Paternal
Incubation is shared amongst African penguins between both parents.
Maternal
Paternal
None

How many species are in the African penguin’s genus, Spheniscus?
4
Simple characteristics allow the four different species of the genus Spheniscus.
1
2
6

How do African penguins differ from Galapagos penguins?
Thick White Face Marking
Galapagos penguins have a much thinner white horseshoe-shaped marking at the back of the head than African penguins.
Single Black Breastband
Less Pink Around Beak
Stomach Spots

What color is an African penguin just before acquiring its adult plumage?
Brown
In the penguin’s second year, the plumage begins to turn brown and in the third year, it shows varying amounts of adult facial pattern.
Grey
Black
White

How far will African penguins forage on hunting trips?
110 km. / 68 m.
The distance that African penguins have to travel to find food varies regionally, temporally, and spatially. On the west coast of Africa, a typical foraging trip could range from 30 to 70 kilometers for a single trip. On the south coast, foraging birds can cover an average of 110 kilometers per trip.
11 km. / 7 m.
1,100 km. / 684 m.
1 km. / 0.6 m.

What are alternate names for the African penguin?
Black-Footed Penguin
Due to its geographical location along the Cape Town coast of southern Africa, the African penguin is also known the Cape penguin or South African penguin. African penguins are also called jackass penguins and black-footed penguins.
Jackass Penguin
Due to its geographical location along the Cape Town coast of southern Africa, the African penguin is also known the Cape penguin or South African penguin. African penguins are also called jackass penguins and black-footed penguins.
Cape Penguin
Due to its geographical location along the Cape Town coast of southern Africa, the African penguin is also known the Cape penguin or South African penguin. African penguins are also called jackass penguins and black-footed penguins.
Humboldt Penguin

What is the African penguin’s greatest natural enemy?
Afro-Australian Fur Seal
Natural threats of the African penguin include competition with Afro-Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus). The seals compete with penguins for food, displace them from breeding sites and impose significant mortality at some colonies.
Yellow Mongoose
Kelp Gull
Cape Genet

What is the African penguin’s evaluation on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Endangered
The African penguin is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Extinct in the Wild
Critically Endangered
Vulnerable

What is the patch of bare skin that helps African penguins incubate their eggs called?
Brood Patch
All African penguins have a patch of bare skin at the base of their bellies, called a “brood patch,” that helps the parent provide direct heat to their eggs for incubation.
Rookery Patch
Huddle Patch
Crèche Patch

For what purpose are African penguins black and white?
Aquatic Camouflage
The African penguin’s coloring is a form of protective coloration known as countershading. These achromatic markings serve as camouflage to aquatic 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.
Terrestrial Camouflage
Mating
Identification

What is the African penguin’s social system?
Social
African penguins are social creatures that live in large groups on rocky coastlines.
Solitary
Social Males, Solitary Females
Solitary Males, Social Females

African penguins are the most common penguin found in zoos.
True
African penguins are the most common penguin found in zoos. Black-footed penguins can be found on display at zoos such as the San Diego Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Toronto Zoo, and Dallas Zoo.
False

What is African penguin skin used to create?
Gloves
Penguin skins have also been used and sold as gloves.
Purses
Hats
Coats

How much have African penguin populations declined since 1978?
50%
The population in Namibia declined from 12,162 pairs in 1978 to an estimated 5,800 pairs in 2015. The South African population declined from c. 70,000 pairs in 1978 and 1979 to 19,300 pairs in 2015. In that year, the overall number of pairs was about 25,000 pairs, or 50,000 mature individuals. This roughly equates to about 80,000 individuals in adult plumage based on the conversion factor of 3.2 for pairs to individuals. Decreases in both countries amount to over 50% in three generations.
25%
75%
95%

What is the African penguins diet?
Carnivorous
African penguins are carnivorous and feed on aquatic prey.
Omnivorous
Herbivorous
Unknown

What is the African penguin’s movement pattern?
Not a Migrant
The African penguin is not a migrant.
Nomadic
Full Migrant
Altitudinal Migrant

Why do African penguins come to shore?
Breed
African penguins come ashore on islands or at non-contiguous areas of the mainland coast to breed, moult, and rest.
Moult
African penguins come ashore on islands or at non-contiguous areas of the mainland coast to breed, moult, and rest.
Rest
African penguins come ashore on islands or at non-contiguous areas of the mainland coast to breed, moult, and rest.
Hunt

What habitats do African penguins inhabit?
Shrubland
African penguins inhabit temperate shrublands, marine intertidal, and marine neritic habitats.
Marine Neritic
African penguins inhabit temperate shrublands, marine intertidal, and marine neritic habitats.
Marine Intertidal
African penguins inhabit temperate shrublands, marine intertidal, and marine neritic habitats.
Savanna

African penguins return to their natal colonies to moult and breed.
True
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.
False

What is an African penguin breeding area called?
Rookery
African penguins gather in breeding areas called rookeries.
Brood
Crèche
Ossuary

African penguins leave their hatchlings in groups when foraging for food.
True
African penguin hatchlings are left alone in groups, a characteristic common to bird species that breed in large colonies, while their parents forage for food.
False

To what continent is the African penguin endemic?
Africa
The African penguin is endemic to the African continent.
Oceania
South America
Antarctica

What is the African penguin’s scientific name?
Spheniscus demersus
The African penguin’s scientific name is Spheniscus demersus.
Spheniscus humboldti
Spheniscus magallanicus
Spheniscus meniculus

How do male African penguins differ from females?
Colors
During breeding, male and female African penguins are most distinguishable from one another due to their patterns of colors. Males also have deeper, more robust bills.
Bill
During breeding, male and female African penguins are most distinguishable from one another due to their patterns of colors. Males also have deeper, more robust bills.
Tail
Feet

What threatens African penguins that nest on open ground?
Heat Stress
Nesting on open ground causes African penguins to be more vulnerable to heat stress resulting in the abandonment of nests, flooding of nests by rain, and increased predation.
Flooding
Nesting on open ground causes African penguins to be more vulnerable to heat stress resulting in the abandonment of nests, flooding of nests by rain, and increased predation.
Predation
Nesting on open ground causes African penguins to be more vulnerable to heat stress resulting in the abandonment of nests, flooding of nests by rain, and increased predation.
Frostbite

How do African penguins fight?
Wing Beating
Fighting between African penguins occurs occasionally and involves the beating of wings and biting. Often, a penguin can be observed chasing throughout the colony while clutching an opposing penguin’s back with his beak while beating the bird with his wings.
Biting
Fighting between African penguins occurs occasionally and involves the beating of wings and biting. Often, a penguin can be observed chasing throughout the colony while clutching an opposing penguin’s back with his beak while beating the bird with his wings.
Clawing
Necking

What is the African penguin’s form of locomotion?
Digitigrade
Most birds, except grebes and loons, are classified as digitigrade animals, meaning they walk on their toes, rather than the entire foot.
Plantigrade
Unguligrade
Other

African penguins feed their hatchlings by regurgitation.
True
After the eggs hatch, the parenting pair feeds their young for about one month by regurgitating food into the hatchling’s mouth.
False

What is the African penguin’s rhythm?
Diurnal
African penguins are diurnal and spend much of the day feeding in the water.
Crepuscular
Nocturnal
Cathemeral

For what reasons do African penguins vocalize?
Territory Defense
The yell, or contact call, is used to defend a territory from another colony member. The bray, or display call, is used to attract mates and is used between partners in a colony. Penguins also perform displays that are used to establish nesting areas, help with partner/hatchling recognition and defense against intruders. The haw is used by partners when one is on land and the other is in the water.
Identification
The yell, or contact call, is used to defend a territory from another colony member. The bray, or display call, is used to attract mates and is used between partners in a colony. Penguins also perform displays that are used to establish nesting areas, help with partner/hatchling recognition and defense against intruders. The haw is used by partners when one is on land and the other is in the water.
Mate Attraction
The yell, or contact call, is used to defend a territory from another colony member. The bray, or display call, is used to attract mates and is used between partners in a colony. Penguins also perform displays that are used to establish nesting areas, help with partner/hatchling recognition and defense against intruders. The haw is used by partners when one is on land and the other is in the water.
Warning Calls

The African penguin is the only penguin species found in Africa.
True
The African penguin is the only penguin species found in Africa.
False

African penguin guano is used for what purpose?
Fertilizer
At one point, guano was excavated from rookeries by humans, processed, and made into fertilizer, which was then sold around the world.
Medicine
Soup
Witchcraft

What threatens African penguins?
Human Intrusions
African penguin population declines have been attributed to food shortages, resulting from shifts in the distributions of prey species, competition with commercial purse-seine fisheries and environmental fluctuations. Guano collection has also historically been a major cause of disturbance at many penguin colonies and today, the removal of guano has deprived penguins of nest-burrowing sites.
Biological Resource Use
African penguin population declines have been attributed to food shortages, resulting from shifts in the distributions of prey species, competition with commercial purse-seine fisheries and environmental fluctuations. Guano collection has also historically been a major cause of disturbance at many penguin colonies and today, the removal of guano has deprived penguins of nest-burrowing sites.
Climate Change
African penguin population declines have been attributed to food shortages, resulting from shifts in the distributions of prey species, competition with commercial purse-seine fisheries and environmental fluctuations. Guano collection has also historically been a major cause of disturbance at many penguin colonies and today, the removal of guano has deprived penguins of nest-burrowing sites.
Agriculture & Aquaculture

African penguins are fearful of humans.
False
African penguins are a species that humans can approach closely and watch as they interact with their environment.
True

Where is the primary viewing site of African penguins?
Simons Town
The primary viewing site of African penguins is the colony at False Bay in Simons Town, South Africa. This colony has over 2,000 penguins.
Cape Town
Durban
Port Elizabeth

How do African penguins differ from Magellanic penguins?
Single Black Breastband
Magellanic penguins show a double black breast-band, rather than the single black breast-band of the African penguin.
Less Pink Around Beak
Thick White Face Marking
Stomach Spots

When does an African penguin acquire its adult plumage?
3 Years
The change from juvenile plumage to adult plumage takes around 3 years.
6 Weeks
3 Months
6 Months

How fast can African penguins swim?
20 kph / 12 mph
When on the hunt for prey, African penguins can reach a top speed of close to 20 kilometers per hour.
10 kph / 6 mph
30 kph / 19 mph
40 kph / 25 mph

Why are African penguins called jackass penguins?
Loud, Braying Calls
African penguins are called jackass penguins because they emit a loud, braying, donkey-like call to communicate with each other.
Aggressive Behavior
Long Ear-Shaped Markings
Large Teeth

What preys on African penguins?
Seals
Natural threats of the African penguin include competition with Afro-Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus). The seals compete with penguins for food, displace them from breeding sites and impose significant mortality at some colonies. African penguins also face predation of eggs and chicks by avian predators such as kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) and African sacred ibises (Threskiornis aethiopicus), while natural terrestrial predators, such as yellow mongooses (Cynictis penicillata), cape genets (Genetta tigrina), caracals (Caracal caracal), and leopards (Panthera pardus) are also present at mainland colonies. In the water, African penguins need to fear sharks looking to take birds at sea.
Cats
Natural threats of the African penguin include competition with Afro-Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus). The seals compete with penguins for food, displace them from breeding sites and impose significant mortality at some colonies. African penguins also face predation of eggs and chicks by avian predators such as kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) and African sacred ibises (Threskiornis aethiopicus), while natural terrestrial predators, such as yellow mongooses (Cynictis penicillata), cape genets (Genetta tigrina), caracals (Caracal caracal), and leopards (Panthera pardus) are also present at mainland colonies. In the water, African penguins need to fear sharks looking to take birds at sea.
Sharks
Natural threats of the African penguin include competition with Afro-Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus). The seals compete with penguins for food, displace them from breeding sites and impose significant mortality at some colonies. African penguins also face predation of eggs and chicks by avian predators such as kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) and African sacred ibises (Threskiornis aethiopicus), while natural terrestrial predators, such as yellow mongooses (Cynictis penicillata), cape genets (Genetta tigrina), caracals (Caracal caracal), and leopards (Panthera pardus) are also present at mainland colonies. In the water, African penguins need to fear sharks looking to take birds at sea.
Birds
Natural threats of the African penguin include competition with Afro-Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus). The seals compete with penguins for food, displace them from breeding sites and impose significant mortality at some colonies. African penguins also face predation of eggs and chicks by avian predators such as kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) and African sacred ibises (Threskiornis aethiopicus), while natural terrestrial predators, such as yellow mongooses (Cynictis penicillata), cape genets (Genetta tigrina), caracals (Caracal caracal), and leopards (Panthera pardus) are also present at mainland colonies. In the water, African penguins need to fear sharks looking to take birds at sea.

How tall is an African penguin?
45-60 cm. / 17-24 in.
Adult African penguins stand at 43-71 centimeters (17-28 inches).
60-75 cm. / 24-30 in.
30-45 cm. / 12-17 in.
75-90 cm. / 30-35 in.

How much does an African penguin weigh?
3 kg. / 7 lb.
Adult African penguins weigh an average of 3.1 kilograms (6.83 pounds).
1 kg. / 2 lb.
5 kg. / 11 lb.
10 kg. / 22 lb.

Why are African penguins commonly found in zoos?
Size
African penguins are commonly found in zoos due to their size and temperature requirements, which are easy to maintain.
Temperature Requirements
African penguins are commonly found in zoos due to their size and temperature requirements, which are easy to maintain.
Solitary Lifestyle
Diet

What is the average lifespan of the African penguin in the wild?
10-27 Years
The average lifespan of the African penguin is 10 to 27 years in the wild, whereas an African penguin living in captivity generally has a longer lifespan.
1-7 Years
20-37 Years
30-47 Years

African penguins are detrimental to the local fishing industry.
False
There are no real negative economic effects of the African penguin on humans as they do not eat enough fish to be detrimental to the local fishing industry.
True

What does the African penguin eat?
Fish
Up to 18 species of crustaceans are prey to the African penguin. Adult African penguins feed primarily on small schooling pelagic fish of 50-120 millimeter length, such as Southern African anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus), sardines (Sardinops sagax), pelagic goby (Sufflogobius bibarbatus), Cape horse mackerel (Trachurus capensis), and Whitehead’s round herring (Etrumeus whiteheadi), supplemented by squid and crustaceans. In some localities, cephalopods represent an important food source
Crustaceans
Up to 18 species of crustaceans are prey to the African penguin. Adult African penguins feed primarily on small schooling pelagic fish of 50-120 millimeter length, such as Southern African anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus), sardines (Sardinops sagax), pelagic goby (Sufflogobius bibarbatus), Cape horse mackerel (Trachurus capensis), and Whitehead’s round herring (Etrumeus whiteheadi), supplemented by squid and crustaceans. In some localities, cephalopods represent an important food source
Cephalopods
Up to 18 species of crustaceans are prey to the African penguin. Adult African penguins feed primarily on small schooling pelagic fish of 50-120 millimeter length, such as Southern African anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus), sardines (Sardinops sagax), pelagic goby (Sufflogobius bibarbatus), Cape horse mackerel (Trachurus capensis), and Whitehead’s round herring (Etrumeus whiteheadi), supplemented by squid and crustaceans. In some localities, cephalopods represent an important food source
Jellyfish

How long can an African penguin remain at sea?
4 Months
They can remain out at sea for up to four months at a time.
4 Hours
4 Weeks
4 Days

What movements do African penguins make during courtship?
Head Swinging
Head-swinging motions usually refer to ownership of nest site, attracting females, and can be used as a warning for other males. The next stage is used to ensure a mutual bond is formed; which involves a harsh vocal call released while extending the neck and head upward. The final stage includes bowing, where one or both penguins duck the head while the bill points at the nest or at the other bird’s feet.
Neck Extension
Head-swinging motions usually refer to ownership of nest site, attracting females, and can be used as a warning for other males. The next stage is used to ensure a mutual bond is formed; which involves a harsh vocal call released while extending the neck and head upward. The final stage includes bowing, where one or both penguins duck the head while the bill points at the nest or at the other bird’s feet.
Bowing
Head-swinging motions usually refer to ownership of nest site, attracting females, and can be used as a warning for other males. The next stage is used to ensure a mutual bond is formed; which involves a harsh vocal call released while extending the neck and head upward. The final stage includes bowing, where one or both penguins duck the head while the bill points at the nest or at the other bird’s feet.
Hugging

How long do African penguins incubate their eggs?
40 Days
Incubation lasts for about 40 days.
20 Days
60 Days
80 Days

What marine habitats do African penguins inhabit?
Oceanic
African penguins inhabit marine neritic, oceanic, intertidal, and coastal/supratidal habitats.
Neritic
African penguins inhabit marine neritic, oceanic, intertidal, and coastal/supratidal habitats.
Intertidal
African penguins inhabit marine neritic, oceanic, intertidal, and coastal/supratidal habitats.
Coastal/Supratidal
African penguins inhabit marine neritic, oceanic, intertidal, and coastal/supratidal habitats.

When will an African penguin leave its natal colony?
2-4 Months
Once an African penguin develops its juvenile plumage at about 2-4 months of age, it will leave the colony.
2-4 Days
2-4 Weeks
2-4 Years

How far inland will African penguins nest?
1 km. / 0.6 m.
They can sometimes be found close to the summit of islands and may move over a kilometer inland in search of breeding sites.
2 km. / 1 m.
3 km. / 2 m.
5 km. / 3 m.

What is a group of African penguin hatchlings called?
Crèche
African penguin hatchlings groups are called crèches.
Colony
Rookery
Brood

How many African penguins can live in one group?
2,000
The African penguins at False Bay in Simons Town, South Africa has over 2000 penguins.
20,000
20
200

The African penguin inhabits what part of the continent?
South
This species is endemic to southern Africa where it breeds in 28 localities in Namibia and South Africa.
North
West
East

The white bare skin above the African penguin’s eye will turn pink in what temperatures?
Hot
African penguins have a distinguishable bit of bare, white skin that resides over the eyes in a horseshoe-shape. These sweat glands above the eyes cool the birds’ blood, and as the temperature rises, increased blood flow causes the glands to become bright pinkish-red.
Cold

What is a group of African penguins called?
Colony
African penguins live in colonies.
Flock
Clutch
Brood

When does the African penguin reach sexual maturity?
4-6 Years
The average age at first breeding is thought to be 4-6 years.
1-3 Years
10-12 Years
7-9 Years

The African penguin breeding season varies depending on the region.
True
African penguin breeding takes place throughout the year with peak months varying locally. In the northwest part of the African penguin’s range, in Namibia, peak laying occurs during the months of November to January. In the southern section of the penguin’s range, in South Africa, nesting happens within March and May. In the Southwest, it occurs between May and July, and in the East, the penguins breed between April and June.
False

What happens to an African penguin’s feathers as it ages?
Darken
African penguins initially have dark slate gray-blue feathers that darken with age.
Lighten

African penguins are susceptible to how many types of blood parasites?
4
Four types of blood parasites, Plasmodium relictum, Plasmodium elongatum, Plasmodium cathemerium, and Leucocytozoon tawaki have been recorded in African penguins.
0
2
6

What marine oceanic habitat do African penguins inhabit?
Epipelagic
African penguins inhabit epipelagic (0-200m) marine oceanic habitats.
Mesopelagic
Bathypelagic
Abyssopelagic

African penguins participate in allopreening.
True
African penguins cannot easily preen their own heads and necks, and as such, participate in allopreening, or the preening of each other. This practical behavior allows for cleaning and rearranging of feathers and aids in the removal of parasites, such as ticks.
False

What is the African penguin’s mating system?
Monogamous
African penguins are monogamous as pairs return to the same breeding sites year after year.
Polygynous
Polyandrous
Polygynandrous

How do African penguins differ from Humboldt penguins?
Less Pink Around Beak
Humboldt penguins have much more pink bare skin that resides over the eyes and around the beak than African penguins.
Single Black Breastband
Thick White Face Marking
Stomach Spots

What systems does the African penguin inhabit?
Terrestrial
African penguins are terrestrial and aquatic.
Aquatic
African penguins are terrestrial and aquatic.
Fossorial
Aerial/Arboreal

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