This is Pete, he is recognized by an Orange band on his right wing and a Yellow band on his left. He was raised for a few weeks by the aquarium staff and is easy to handle and work with. This is an example of being able to examine the inside of his mouth. A very light touch is required to the beak. While his mouth his open we can determine health, as his skin should be pink. In addition, it is a picture of the hooks inside of the mouth. African penguins have hooks made of keratin located on the tongue and on the roof of the mouth. These are bent towards the back of the throat to aid the penguin in holding fish while hunting. This allows them to catch and swallow the fish without losing them.-Pamela Schaller
The photo is of “Dunker” lifting his beak into the air and fluffing its head feathers outwards. The behavior is described as an Ecstatic display. This is usually performed while a penguin is in its territory. It is performed after another bird threatens, or if many birds are also displaying. The primary function is advertisement, attracting females, or stating territory ownership. This young bird is displaying after being challenged by another young male. The juveniles are currently challenging each other for dominance and for territory. This is observed frequently for the first few years of their life.
All of the penguins in the Academy’s exhibit are captive hatched, some are even seventh generation. The Academy has had 108 chicks hatch out since 1983. These birds stay either at our facility or move to another as part of a cooperative breeding program (see Species Survival Plan blog). The photo is of Dunker and Safara at 4 weeks old. They are now juveniles and are on exhibit. Dunker is the penguin that looks like he has a small bald patch on his lower back, he has an orange wing band on his right wing and a white band on his left wing. He sustained an injury when he was young and the feathers grow less densely in this patch. Once he molts (which is due soon) he will replace those feathers and look the same as the rest of the adults.-Pamela Schaller
“Brenton” hatched on 25 October 2007 and is celebrating his first birthday today! To identify him on camera he has an orange wing band on his right wing and a gold wing band on his left wing. He was named as part of our website contest allowing participants to vote, with the most votes determining the name. Brenton is also the name of an island off of the coast of South Africa. This is one of the 24 islands and 3 mainland sites that the African penguin inhabits. In 1994 there were 99 adult African penguins that lived on Brenton Island.-Pamela Schaller