Not Quite Opus, But A Close Relative

This is a Humboldt penguin which, unlike its Antarctic cousin, lives in the hot, dry coastlines of Chile and Peru. One of the most timid species of penguins, the Humboldt body is made to swim; it can “fly” through the water near the surface at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. It weighs approximately nine pounds and is 15-18 inches tall. Dense feathers protect it in winds up to 60 miles per hour. Humboldt penguins are monogamous, and each possesses a unique voice identifiable by its mate and offspring. It feeds on small, schooling fish such as anchovies and sardines. The Humboldt is endangered. Fewer than 12,000 are estimated to live in the wild. Threats to its existence are El Nino, guano harvesting, humans collecting eggs, introduced predators such as rats, cats, and dogs, and disturbances caused by tourists and researchers. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse nurtures a colony of 12-15 Humboldt penguins in a state-of-the-art environment. As Lyle Lovett says, “I go for penguins.” Oh, and if you don’t know Opus, visit here to find out. He’s adorable.

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