Patranca Facts

Patranca Facts
Image source: "Spheniscus humboldti 20070116" by Adam Kumiszcza - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 
3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Comman names:Chilean penguin, or patranca, Humboldt Penguin.

1. Humboldt Penguin is related to the African penguin, Magellanic penguin, and Galapagos penguin.

2. Humboldt penguins inhabit coastal areas of Chile and Peru.  Open ocean and the rocky  shores near cliffs or on islands off the coasts of Chile and Peru.

3. They are named after the cold Humboldt Current running from the Antarctic to the equator.

4. They nest along the rocky coastal areas and the neighboring islands where the terrain is suitable for constructing nesting burrows. The arid climate in Peru and northern Chile means the burrows are not at risk of flooding because of heavy rains.

5. The Humboldt penguin has a horseshoe-shaped marking on its body. They eat krill and fish.

6. The Humboldt penguins are medium-sized birds (15-18 inches tall) weighing between 6 and 13 pounds.

7 Penguins have feathers that are denser than most other types of birds, having as many as 70 feathers per square inch. These feathers are spaced very closely. They also have a thick layer of down to help keep the birds warm.

8. The feathers are white on the belly with a black band around the chest and spots on the breast. They have black backs and tails.

9. The face is black but separated from the head and neck by a white border.  The bill is black with a white band near the tip and serrated.

10. Females are slightly smaller than the males. Young birds are primarily slate gray across the head and back and lack the bold double stripe of the adults.

11. Penguins’ bones are solid and heavy, which help them to remain submerged and reduce the energy needed for pursuit diving.

12. Adult penguins are countershaded (dark dorsal, light ventral) which helps to conceal swimming penguins from predators. When viewed from above, the dark dorsal side blends in with the darker ocean depths. When viewed from beneath, the light ventral side helps them blend in with the lighter surface of the sea.

13. Humboldt penguins have a gland which enables them to drink salt water in addition to fresh water; the gland concentrates excess salt which then dribbles down the bill.

14. Lifespan in the wild is 20 years and in captivity it is over 30 years.

15. Humboldt penguins are highly social birds that live in small colonies called rookeries.

16. In the Wild they feed on small schooling fish such as anchovies, sardines, squid and crustaceans. When food is scarce, the parents feed only the larger chick and the smaller chick quickly starves.

17. Like all penguins, Humboldt penguins are monogamous and mate for life. Breeding occurs after a brief courtship. Both the male and female dig a burrow in rookery dried guano (bird poop!) and when it’s ready the female lays two eggs. The parents take turns incubating the eggs until they hatch after about 40 days.

18. Humboldt penguins are one of the most timid species of penguins.

19. Because of their normal arid (not arctic) climate, these penguins huddle together for safety and not warmth.

20. Penguins are flightless birds that are built to “fly” through the water. They have  streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies and wings that have been reduced to strong, stiff flippers that help them propel rapidly through the water.

21. They have webbed feet and legs that are set far back on the body, and their legs and tail are used like rudders for steering as they swim. Diving down to catch fish.

22. Humboldt penguins can stay under water for upto 18 minutes and they can swim 11-15mph.

23. The penguins have three layers of short feathers that overlap like shingles on a roof, making them waterproof.

24. They also have a well-defined layer of fat to helps keep them warm.

25. However on shore they can get very hot. They have an extensive area of bare pink skin at the base oftheir bills that helps them to radiate heat and cool off.

26. Birds that fly have hollow bones, but penguins have solid bones.

27. Penguins have over 70 feathers per square inch.

28. Penguins can run as fast as most men and swim faster than most fish. They are perfectly adapted to a halflife between land and sea. Humboldt penguins can swim up to 20 mph.

29. Penguins use the sun to navigate from land to sea. They adjust for the sun's changing position in the sky throughout the day.

30. Humboldt penguins can blush. When they get too hot (it can get up to 108 degrees (F) where they live), they have to avoid over-heating. So they flush pinkon their face, wings and feet. This sheds body heat by sending blood to the bare part of their bodies.


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