Humboldt’s PenguinPiongain Pheiriúch
Pacific coast of South America, offshore islands of Chile and Peru.
Scientific name: Spheniscus humboldti
IUCN status: Vulnerable
Habitat: Pacific coast of South America, offshore islands of Chile and Peru
Diet: Carnivore – anchovy, sardines, other small fish, squid
Penguins cannot fly – their ‘wings’ have become narrow bony flippers for swimming
underwater. Humboldt’s penguins used to be hunted for their skins, meat and oil
from the fat layer under the skin but now they are threatened by commercial fishing reducing their food supply, sea pollution, and increasing water temperatures. They dig underground burrows to shelter from the heat and to keep their eggs and chicks safe.
Did you know?
One of the first threats to Humboldt’s penguins was ‘poo’! Guano – the dried droppings of seabirds– was collected for fertiliser in the 19th century, disturbing and destroying penguin nesting sites.