They have streamlined bodies, tightly packed waterproof feathers and special digestion. They also have heavy bones to help them dive, and a layer of blubber for warmth. Flightless and ungainly on land, they reach great speeds underwater. Their tongues are covered in spines to grip slippery fish.
Some penguins make a small nest of sticks, others use burrows. The Humboldt’s carefully choose and arrange pebbles of just the right size before laying two white eggs. This species is endangered in the wild due to human interference & pollution.
The Humboldt’s Penguin lives along the coasts of Chile and Peru where it can be very warm. They have a bare patch of skin on their faces which can blush red, helping them to cool down.
Adult penguins have a dark band of feathers above their chests, along with speckles in the white area below. These speckles are in a unique pattern in each penguin so can help identify individuals.
When chicks are in the nest they have fluffy grey down feathers. After about three months they leave their nests and by this time have developed the waterproofed plumage they need. Young birds lack the band of dark feathers, as this only develops when they are about a year old.
Click here to see our penguin chick story from July 2015.