Galapagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus

  • Order: Sphenisciformes
  • Family: Spheniscidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Annica Lila Carlson and Jens Steven Townsdin

The most northerly member of its family, the Galapagos Penguin is endemic to the Galapagos archipelago, 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador. With a distribution that virtually straddles the equator, the Galapagos Penguin is able to survive at such a tropical latitude due to the cool, nutrient-rich waters of the Cromwell and Humboldt currents. Galapagos Penguins breed in loose colonies in the cracks and caves of the islands’ lava flows and feed close offshore on pelagic schooling fish, especially mullet. This species currently is considered Endangered, due to its extremely small population of about 2000, which has been drastically reduced in the past four decades. These reductions are primarily due to the increasing frequency of climatic perturbations, such as El Niño events, which reduce the strength of the cool currents on which the Galapagos Penguin depends for successful breeding.

Audio needed
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Carlson, A. L. and J. S. Townsdin (2012). Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.