Galapagos Island penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) are endemic to this Archipelago. They live in the hot tropics of the Equator.
These penguins are the smallest in the world, and they live 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador right in the Galapagos Islands.
The Galapagos Island penguins are about 50 cm tall and weight around 5 lb. They have a thin white band that runs from the eye to under their chin.
These penguins have a black head and a black band that runs in an upside-down horseshoe shape around their stomachs which extends down to their legs. The female penguins are smaller than the males but have a similar structure.
Galapagos Island penguins are similar to the Magellanic penguins except that the black band in the Galapagos penguin is thinner and they are smaller in size.
The penguins in the Galapagos Islands were brought by the Humboldt Current, which is composed by cold waters and nutrients coming from the Antarctica.
The Galapagos penguins enter into the water to cool off form the strong Equator sun and they swim slowly and graciously just with their heads above the water.
But when they are looking for food they can submerge into the water using its flippers and feet to gain a great speed.
In most cases they look for food close to shore and feed mostly on small fish such as sardines and mullet which are caught while they swim and dive in the Ocean.
Penguins feed only during the day and depend on the cold nutrient-rich ocean currents such as the Humboldt Current to bring fish for their feeding.
In 1987 the Niño Current was devastating for Galapagos penguins, almost 75% of the penguin population died because of a severe lack of food due to this tremendous Ocean current.
Less than 1,000 pairs are now living in the islands and that's why the Galapagos Island penguins are considered and endangered species.
Besides the above dangers the Galapagos penguins have also to take care of their eggs that are laid under the lava rocks.
And also have to take care of their chicks which will be with their parents for around 60 days until they can feed for themselves in the sea.
The next time you visit the Galapagos Islands don't miss the incredible opportunity to see these gracious Galapagos Island penguins living in the tropics of the Equator.
Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)
Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World
Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands
Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire
If you have questions about the Galapagos Islands, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page or if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Land Tours to explore this Archipelago, you can Contact us here