Bird Quiz: African Penguins

Bird Quiz: African Penguins

Michele Berger
Published: 02/10/2011

Photo by J. Greenwood

Yesterday, we asked you to show off your bird ID skills. Today, show us what you know about these African penguins. Scroll past the picture below for the answers.

1. Why are these penguins called Jackass Penguins?
a. They aren’t very nice birds.
b. Their voices sound like braying donkeys.
c. They are the long-lost cousins of donkeys.
d. None of the above.

2. True or False: These penguins are endangered.

3. How fast can these penguins swim?
a. Up to 5 kph (3 mph)
b. Up to 10 kph (6.2 mph)
c. Up to 20 kph (12.4 mph)
d. Up to 50 kph (31 mph)

4. In the wild, how old can these penguins get?
a. 12
b. 15
c. 25
d. 27

5. True or False: The male and female of this species are practically identical.


Photo by J. Greenwood

Answers

1. Why are these penguins called Jackass Penguins?

B, their voices sound like braying donkeys. Really, the best way to explain this is to let you listen. Give it a go.

2. True or False: These penguins are endangered.

True, the penguins are endangered. In 2010, the birds were uplisted from vulnerable to endangered on the IUCN Red List because of recent, rapid populations decreases. IUCN data suggest fisheries and shifts in prey populations are playing a part.

3. How fast can these penguins swim?

C, up to 20 kilometers per hour. They also can travel up to a distance of 45 miles per trip. These penguins live in large colonies across southern Africa, as far north as Namibia on the west coast and Mozambique on the east coast.

4. In the wild, how old can these penguins get?

D, 27. According to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, the average lifespan of one of these birds ranges from 10 to 27 years. Captive birds of this species typically live longer than those in the wild. This average age is on par with other similar penguins.

5. True or False: The male and female of this species are practically identical.

True, the genders look extremely similar. Both males and females have short, broad, tightly spaced feathers to protect their skin from water. They also share similar markings, including a white belly topped with a black U-shaped band and a black back.

For more information about these birds, check the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, Cape Town, South Africa’s Two Oceans Aquarium, or the IUCN Red List data base.