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Saturday, December 10, 2016

AFRICAN PENGUIN COLONY, STONY POINT, BETTY'S BAY, WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA a

   The Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty's Bay is home to one of the largest breeding colonies of African Penguins.  A boardwalk runs through the colony, so you can see the penguins really up close.  Also present in the colony are cormorants, gulls and Rock Hyrax.  The African Penguin is also known as the Jackass Penguin and Black-footed Penguin. 
   We can ID the  adult penguins seen in these photos as African Penguins by their upright stance, black-and-white striped heads, continuous black band along the flanks and across the breast (some have double bands across the breast), black feet and pink around the eyes.
   The penguins in the sixth and last (on the right) photos are African Penguins that are molting.  Once a year the African Penguin undergoes a 'catastrophic molt'.  This is a 20 day period during which time the penguins losses all its feathers at one time.  During this time the penguins can't forage as they are not waterproof.  Prior to the molt the African Penguins gorge on food to build up a fat reserve.
   The African Penguin is a new species to our Photographic Life List, which now stands at 484.