55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Live Penguin Cams 

March 30, 2010

Penguin Behavior: Slender Walk Display


The slender walk is where the penguin’s body is stretched vertically, the neck is elongated and the head is held high.  The African penguin adopts this posture when moving through the territory of other birds.  By moving in the slender walk manner, the penguin signals to other birds that it is not a threat and need not be pecked.  You can watch our penguins on our webcam exhibiting this behavior when walking on land and approaching a nest box. – Allan Jan

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 4:48 pm

March 24, 2010

Penguin Behavior: Look Around


African penguins often stand still and look around at their environment. You are most likely to see our birds take this stance upon returning to their territory after spending time in the pool. They will stand with their neck retracted, head held horizontally or mostly horizontally with their eyes half-closed or blinked. The posture is slightly aggressive in appearance and the bird displaying it is probably ready to challenge any potential intruders it sees while surveying. When off its territory an African penguin looking around will seem less confident and is usually more poised for movement. The neck is more extended and the eyes are usually open. – Brooke Weinstein

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 12:13 pm

March 11, 2010

Penguin Behavior: Mutual Ecstatic Display


The Mutual Ecstatic Display is different from the Ecstatic Display because of the relationship of the birds performing the behavior and how close in proximity the birds are to each other. In the previous blog, you learned about the Ecstatic Display and saw the photo. In that image the birds are in different territories and both are males. In this photo, the birds are in the same territory (in this case their nest) and are a mated couple. The couple performs this display in unison and is commonly observed and heard when they are reunited in their territory. It is also displayed in fighting when there are territorial clashes between two pairs. This territorial clash is most frequently observed at the Academy in between the green banded couple’s nest and the white banded couple’s nest-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 1:24 pm

March 6, 2010

Penguin Behavior: Ecstatic Display


The most common and loudest behavior of the African penguin is the ecstatic display. It is seen and heard every day in the exhibit. It consists of a penguin standing with its feet apart. They slowly raise the head and point the beak upwards. The wings are lifted outwards and the chest and base of throat heaves with the inhaling of air. This is accompanied with opening the beak and emitting a very loud sound called a bray. This display is most frequently seen and heard when a penguin is in their territory. It communicates territory ownership, identifies the penguin and often draws the mate back to their territory. Each penguin’s bray is individual. This display can be infectious with many penguins responding by braying while they are in their territories. African penguins have also displayed this when disturbed by intruders such as other birds, animals or humans.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 2:35 pm

March 2, 2010

Penguin Behavior


The penguins display in a variety of methods that communicate social organization. These displays or behaviors can  communicate aggression, submission or sexual interest from one penguin towards another. There are visual cues that humans can observe and interpret especially with relation to the penguin’s proximity to another penguin and position of body, head, neck or eyes. Penguin behavior can be easy to observe, like “Beak-Slapping” or more subtle, like “Sideways Stare”. Follow the blog posts as we describe different penguin behaviors that can be observed while you visit the Academy or while watching the penguin cams.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 10:34 am