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Please Note: The African penguin webcam has been temporarily removed due to technical difficulties. We are working on providing a more reliable webcam for you to enjoy. In the meantime, you can continue to enjoy our Ocean Voyager webcam.
The African penguins are at home in their brand new exhibit in the newly renovated Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest gallery. The new habitat now houses twice as many birds and features an acrylic tunnel and multiple pop-up windows. It also features more than 25 nesting areas, integrated into the rockwork, and a state-of-the-art lighting system that mimics that natural light cycle from twilight to moonlight.
African black-footed penguins are found on the southernmost coast of Africa. The climate in this area is higher than that of the Antarctic penguins or those found near the South Pole. Penguins are energized animals that can be caught playing on land or swimming under water. The African penguin often “porpoises,” plunging in and out of the water, and can travel 4-6 miles per hour and can reach up to 25 miles per hour in short bursts.
Each penguin at the Georgia Aquarium wears a band with beads to differentiate them. Each bead color corresponds to a number. For example, purple = 2 and blue = 3. In addition, the bead closest to the chest is blue or pink indicating male or female. Therefore, a penguin wearing a band that is pink-purple-blue means that it is female penguin 23. While this system helps the biologists identify the birds, it also allows guests to tell the male and female penguins apart.
The biggest threats to the African penguin are oil spills, over fishing of surrounding waters by people and natural competition and predation from seals and straw-necked ibis.
Penguin feathers are stiff and overlap in layers to trap air next to the skin for insulation. The birds waterproof themselves by spreading oil from a gland at the base of the tail, which allows the feathers to be resistant to wind and water. Additionally, there may be up to 300 feathers per square inch on a penguin. A layer of blubber under the skin helps to keep the birds warm as well. If the penguin becomes overheated, blood vessels in the skin fill with blood, bringing heat from within the body to the surface where it is dispersed. Also, bare patches on the face and feet also allow excess heat to escape.
There are approximately 120,000 African penguins left in the ocean, which is down 90 percent in the past 60 years.