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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


  1. why isn’t there an audio feed so we can hear the bray?

    Comment by denise — March 8, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  2. Hi Denise, We are working on recording their sounds so you can hear them from the website.-Pamela

    Comment by pschaller — March 24, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

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