Sunday, January 21, 2007

Jackass penguin - Spheniscus dermersus

Named after a donkey because of the loud, braying noise it makes, the Jackass penguin is no fool. It has so far survived many oil spills, poachers and predatory fishermen who have depleted its food stocks.

This flightless seabird is found nowhere in the world except off the coast of southern Africa, thus making it endemic to this area. It breeds on 24 offshore islands between Namibia and Port Elizabeth, including Dassen, Dyer, Jutten and Robben Island in the Western Cape region of South Africa and Boulders Beach and Betty's Bay near Cape Town. Nesting on the mainland is unusual for jackass penguins because they are ground-nesting birds and are vulnerable to the many predators on the mainland.

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