African penguin

(Spheniscus demersus)

African penguins are the only penguin species native to South Africa. They used to be called ‘jackass penguins’ due to their donkey-like bray. But in order to distinguish them from the existing species of jackass penguins native to the polar regions, the birds with the pink patches around their eyes were renamed African penguins.

[Translate to Englisch:] Brillenpinguin im Zoo Berlin


Southern Africa, coasts and islands off the coast of Namibia and South Africa, occasionally in Angola and Mozambique

Fish is a daily staple for penguins.  Their favourites are swarm fish such as sardines, but they also enjoy octopus and crab

approx. 150,000 (rough estimate, as there are no exact counts)

65 cm

3 kg

Gestation period:
38 days

Life expectancy
27 years under human care, approx. 15 years in the wild

A Tailormade Wetsuit
Their plumage isn't just water-repellent and insulating, it's even buoyant! It's oiled with a naturally produced secretion, the lower down layer warms them perfectly and an air cushion between the feathers insulates and helps them swim.

Useful Tailcoat

Their black-and-white plumage is the perfect camouflage: seen from below, their white belly is similar to the bright surface of the water and from above their black back blends into the depths of the ocean – this is also known as countershading.

Did you know...
...African penguins are one of the smallest penguin species at just 70 cm and weighing about 3 kg, they can incubate 2 to 3 eggs for over a month at a time and they pad their nests with their own excrement, the so-called guano?