African Penguin

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.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 26 March 2010
Scientific Name
Spheniscus demersus
  • Sphenisciformes
  • Spheniscidae
  • Spheniscus
  • S. demersus
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Endangered (as of 7 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
26 to 28 inches
70 to 177 ounces


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

Chinese (汉语) 南非企鹅
Czech (Cesky) Tučňák Brýlový
Danish (Dansk) Brillepingvin
Dutch (Nederlands) Zwartvoetpinguïn
Finnish (Suomi) Afrikanpingviini
French (Français) Manchot du Cap
German (Deutsch) Brillenpinguin
Italian (Italiano) Pinguino del Capo
Japanese (日本語) ケアプペンギン [Ke-Pupengin]
Norwegian (Norsk) Kappingvin
Polish (Polski) Pingwin Przyladkowy
Russian (русский язык) очковый пингвин
Spanish (Español) Pingüino de El Cabo
Swedish (Svenska) Sydafrikansk pingvin
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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
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