Penguins – water march!

The penguin enclosure lies at the heart of the traditional Cologne Zoo. In this rocky area, these amusing birds can incubate their eggs in peace or swim with ease through the water.

They are fed exclusively on fish that bears the seal of the Marine Stewardship Council for sustainable fish management. Cologne Zoo is pioneering in this respect.

Humboldt penguin

Penguins are flightless birds. In the water, however, they are swift and agile swimmers who fly through the water. Freshly hatched penguins have to wait to lose their downy plumage before they can follow their parents into the water to hunt. Males and females of the Humboldt penguins are hard to tell apart, but individuals can be differentiated by the dotted pattern on their chest feathers.

Penguins are falling victim to the overfishing of our oceans. The Humboldt penguins are increasingly seeing their basic nutrition being removed by the fishing industry, and many birds meet a terrible death in drag nets and longlines. In addition, Humboldt penguins are also suffering from the consequences of the ever more frequently occurring "El Nino". This warm ocean stream displaces the nutrient rich water and with it the sardines that form the main source of food of the Humboldt penguins.

System: Birds, penguins

Height: approx. 60 cm

Body weight: approx. 3.5 - 6 kg

Clutch size: 1 - 2 eggs

Incubation period: 36-41 days

Habitat: Coasts

Distribution: Chile, Peru

Population in the wild: threatened

Population in European Zoos: approx. 1,500

Food: Fish, squid, crabs


Source: (Status: 24.08.2018)


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