Galapagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus

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


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Galapagos Penguin
eBird range map for Galapagos Penguin

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

The Galapagos Penguin is endemic to the equatorial Galápagos Islands of Ecuador and is one of the only tropical penguin species in the world (Bollmer et. al. 2007). The majority of the population breeds on the Fernandina Island, and on the western side of Isabella Island. Nonbreeders also visit the islands of Santiago, Santa Cruz, and Floreana,and islets such as Rábida (Harris 1974, Castro and Phillips 1996, Nims et al. 2007).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


The Galápagos Penguin resides in sheltered bays that were formed long ago by ancient lava flows (Bailey 1962). They require coastlines beaches with beaches that have gradual inclines rather than steep cliffs, which prevent penguins from being able to come ashore (Boersma 1977).

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

None reported.

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.