Jackass (or African) Penguins Preening
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|Hello everyone. My contribution today is African (or Jackass) Penguins preening themselves after returning from a fishing trip. |
This was hand held, using my 400mm 2.8 + 1.4X converter - on the deck of a boat!!! It has also been cropped.
Many people are surprised that penguins occur in Africa (also South America, Australia and New Zealand). In fact all they really need is a plentiful supply of fish and so are associated with cold, nutrient rich waters - hence the distribution of these penguins follows the cold Benguela Current which runs up the western side of Southern Africa - in South America, penguins are distributed (mainly) along the route of the even colder Humbolt current, even reaching the equator in the Galapagos. In fact, only two species (Emperor and Adele) breed south of the Antarctctic Circle - the remaining 15 species are all found in other climatic zones.
African Penguins grow to 68-70 cm (26.7-27.5 in) tall and weigh between 2 and 5 kilograms (4.4 and 11 lb). They have a black stripe and black spots on the chest, the pattern of spots being unique for every penguin, like human fingerprints. They have pink glands above their eyes. The hotter the penguin gets, the more blood is sent to these glands so it may be cooled by the surrounding air, thus making the glands more pink. The males are larger than the females and have larger beaks, but their beaks are more pointed than those of the Humboldt. Their distinctive black and white colouring is a vital form of camouflage - white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the dark water. The African Penguin is also known as the Jackass penguin because of its shrill mating call.
They breed throughout the year, the main breeding season starting in February. Females lay two eggs, with an incubation period of 38-42 days. The breeding range of the African penguin extends from Hollamsbird Island, off central Namibia, to Bird Island in Algoa Bay. The African penguin is the only penguin species that breeds in Africa, and it is found nowhere else in the world. They are a monogamous species and the lifelong partners take turns to incubate their eggs and feed their young. The moulting season is between October and February, with the majority of the birds moulting in November and December, after which they head out to sea to feed (since they do not feed during moulting season and remain on land). They return in January to mate and begin nesting about February to August. Their diet includes small fish such as pilchards, sardines, anchovies small crustaceans and squid. The penguins obtain water from the fish they eat.
They can swim at an average speed of 7 km/h, and can stay submerged for up to 2 minutes. They can reach a top speed of 20km/h.
African Penguins live in colonies and have an average lifespan of 10 years. They start mating between 2 and 6 years of age. Females reaching sexual maturity at the age of 4 years, and males at the age of 5 years. The highest recorded age for a bird of this species has been 24, however several individual birds have lived to be up to 40 years old in aquarium settings. The population in 2003 was estimated at 179,000 adults, with 56,000 breeding pairs.Their population has been decreasing in the past years. In the 1970痴 there were an estimated 220,000 adults, 1980痴 there was 194,000 adults and the population in the 1990痴 was 179,000 adults.
The scientific name for the penguin is Spheniscus demersus. Because of their donkey-like braying call they were previously named the Jackass Penguins. Since several species of South American penguins produce the same sound, the African species has been renamed African Penguin, as it is the only penguin species that breeds in Africa. It is also named the Black-footed penguin.
Gert-Paassen, cypturk, siggi, pekkavalo1, Evelynn, eqshannon, boreocypriensis, horia, zulfu, Adanac has marked this note useful
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great pov and good composition.
Hello James, a fine capture of these cute African pernuins. Excellent details and beautiful colours... TFS and kind regards,
- [2008-10-28 9:57]
Lovely composition with beautifulPenguins,
Very good lighting, colors , POV and DOF. Best regards Siggi
Very beautiful capture of these great African Penguins. Excellent display of wildlife in action with good low POV and great composition, sharp details.
I am one of those for whom this was a bit unexpected though of course it makes sense and I have heard of them before in Africa. More amazing than the penguins is you handholding that lens with 1.4x in a boat!! It must be all that pumping iron you do!! : ) I love seeing animals in their natural habitat doing natural activities. It is a nice capture.
Evelynn : )
Agreed..I would not think to look for Penguins in Africa, S or not..So cropped on top of 400mm...that's not bad at all. I am guessing that it is not easy to get in close..and that may be an oversimplified suggestion...all things considered..I am also intrigued as to the boat...deck you say...so it was a larger craft? If you ever get some time next year....you should really hope I am better and can finally walk around. I have creams of seeing and being in places so very much...until then..I shall rely on trusty James...You know James was 'The Brother' it is said..
Hi My big Brother James,
A fine shot of these lovely birds on the rocks in a fine composition.
TFS and cheers,
I never thought of Penguins in Africa. Fascinating!
Wonderful shot - informative notes.
I learn so much here...more than just photography tips. Thank you!
- [2008-10-29 9:30]
Hahaha...i like them just by their name :))
A superb close-up on these cute fellows, especially considering that you took it from such a big distance, with a relatively slow shutter speed and from a BOAT! All-in-all: i'd say you have very steady hands ;)
Excellent light caught here, too and i like the beautiful colors it results in on both the subjects and the surroundings.
Bravo and TFS
- [2008-10-29 10:54]
Hello James, lovely shot of thes beautiful penguins.
TFS and G's,
- [2008-10-29 21:39]
Hello James, Fantastic scene with superb view. I like the composition and sorroundings. Ganesh
- [2008-10-30 16:26]
a nice shot of these preening Jackass Penguins!
Very good composition.
- [2008-10-31 18:28]
Shooting from a boat is aways difficult but you have done superbly here. Great image and notes as usual Jmaes, thank you.