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Scuffles over territory are common, and there is a definite social hierarchy within the colony.
Through pointing (when a penguin lowers its body to the ground and point its beak at another penguin), biting, fighting and braying, dominant birds (usually older) establish a pecking order, and will literally put a juvenile bird in its place by chasing or herding if they feel challenged.
African penguins feed on anchovies and sardines in the wild, and we simulate their diet at the Academy by offering sustainably caught herring and capelin, supplemented by vitamins, including B-1, E, and a multi-vitamin.
At every feeding a volunteer records what each bird eats, gathering data which helps biologists monitor the well-being of each individual.
The waters off South Africa contain major shipping lanes, and oil spills are frequent and deadly for African penguins.
SANCCOB, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, is the biggest rehabilitation center in the region, and responsible for successfully rehabbing tens of thousands of penguins affected by spills. The SSP's goal is to ensure the long-term survival of a viable population of African penguins.
Males are banded on the right, females on the left.
Couples, which typically have the same colored wing bands, can often be seen grooming one another near the nest box they share.
Preening In order to stay warm, a penguin must constantly work to keep their feathers clean, well-oiled, and waterproof.
You can watch our penguins exhibiting this behavior when walking on land and approaching a nest box.
Ecstatic Display The most common and loudest behavior of the African Penguin is the ecstatic display, seen and heard every day in the exhibit.
This behavior is called preening, and can be done while swimming or on land.
Penguins have an oil gland at the base of their tail, and nip at it to transfer the oil to their beak, so they can apply it to the rest of their body.Slender Walk Display When moving through the territory of other birds, African Penguins adopt a slender posture in which the body is stretched vertically, and the neck is elongated and the head held high.By moving in this manner, the penguin signals to other birds that it is not a threat and need not be pecked.Penguin experts believe that commercial fisheries are largely to blame for the decline - fisheries continue to draw down stocks of the fish that African penguins consume, leaving them with an increasingly empty pantry.