Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Galapagos Penguin

The Galapagos penguin is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and there is an estimated population of 1,800. The IUCN lists them as endangered. 90% of them are found on two islands: (a) the west coast of Isabela Island; and (b) Fernandina Island, both places we visited. There are also small populations on Santiago, Bartolome, northern Santa Cruz and Floreana Islands. eBird has 3,119 observations, 667 of them with photos.
We saw our first penguins at Moreno Point on Isabela. These two walk past a marine iguana. Note the horseshoe (the white stripe) around the edge of the white belly and the white stripe on the head. 

I commonly read that they are the only penguin species found north of the equator, but that is just a very small number of them on the northern tip of Isabela. All the rest are south of the equator. 
We saw our next penguins at Elizabeth Bay on Isabela. 

A juvenile. 

Note the pink stripes on the feet. 
It has: a white belly; a dark horseshoe outlining the white belly (on the chest and on the sides); a white line that starts around the back of the eye and circles around to the back of the throat; the top of the beak is black and fades into pink on the bottom and toward the face. Females are a little smaller than males and juveniles have a wholly dark head and are grayer on the side. 
Penguins at Tagus Cove. These photos were taken while I was snorkeling. 

They nest onshore within 160 feet of the ocean in a cave or crevice.
Penguins at Vicente Roca Point on Isabela.

1 comment:

  1. They look so clumsy walking, like they might tip over, but they are sleek and fast in the water. It was really fun to see them waddle off the rock and then glide through the ocean.