Add to favorites
African Penguin

African Pygmy Falcon
African Grey Parrot

About the African Penguin

Also known as: Black-footed Penguin, Jackass Penguin

The African Penguin lives on the southwest coast of Africa. It is also known as the Black-footed Penguin and is the only species of penguin to breed in Africa.

Pink glands around the eyes become darker or lighter depending on how hot the bird is feeling. The black and white plumage of these and other penguins provides camouflage for the bird when it is swimming. The black top and white bottom help the birds evade underwater predators. African Penguins are considered threatened due to egg poaching and habitat destruction or disruption. African Penguins also breed in a relatively small area, leaving the entire population vulnerable to any threat to their breeding grounds.

Pierre is a famous captive African Penguin who was given a custom penguin wetsuit to protect his skin where he experienced feather loss. In time the bald spots were restored.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 26 March 2010
Scientific Name Spheniscus demersus
  • Sphenisciformes
  • Spheniscidae
  • Spheniscus
  • S. demersus
Birdorable Family Penguins
Conservation Status Endangered
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 29 September 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
26 to 28 inches
70 to 177 ounces
Range West Africa South Africa


From IUCN Red List:
The African Penguin is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2015 by BirdLife International. This species is classified as Endangered because it is undergoing a very rapid population decline, probably as a result of commercial fisheries and shifts in prey populations. This trend currently shows no sign of reversing, and immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines.

International Names

  • 南非企鹅 (Chinese)
  • Tučňák Brýlový (Czech)
  • Brillepingvin (Danish)
  • Zwartvoetpinguïn (Dutch)
  • Afrikanpingviini (Finnish)
  • Manchot du Cap (French)
  • Brillenpinguin (German)
  • Pinguino del Capo (Italian)
  • ケアプペンギン [Ke-Pupengin] (Japanese)
  • Kappingvin (Norwegian)
  • Pingwin Przyladkowy (Polish)
  • очковый пингвин (Russian)
  • Pingüino de El Cabo (Spanish)
  • Sydafrikansk pingvin (Swedish)

Related articles

Baby Birdorable: African Penguin

Baby Birdorable: African Penguin

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the African Penguin. African Penguins breed colonially, ... more
African Penguin fame

African Penguin fame

A new bird recently added to Birdorable is the African Penguin. The African Penguin lives on the southwest coast of Africa. The species is also called Black-footed Penguin and is the only ... more