Galapagos Penguin

Which is the only species of penguins that is found north of the equator?

And the answer: Galapagos Penguin.    

Photo credit: Charles J. Sharp

The Galapagos Penguin, as its name suggests, is found in the Galapagos and is the only species of penguin to be found north of the equator.

While most people associate penguins with snow and ice, there are some penguins who actually prefer and thrive in warm climates. Found along the coast of the Galapagos, Galapagos Penguins are equipped with many evolutionary qualities that allow them to embrace the costal waters. For one, the Galapagos Penguins can lean forward as they stand on a rock, which helps to shade their feet from the sun and stretch their flippers out to the sides. The penguins lose heat from the underparts of their flippers and the skin on their feet, so this stance allows them to regulate their body temperature in the hot sun. Additionally, these small penguins possess the ability to pant (yes, like a dog!)

Even though Galapagos Penguins inhabit a tropical climate, they actually depend on some cold water currents, such as the Cromwell current. When water temperatures are abnormally high, their food supply is reduced. Sometimes this results in a suspension of breeding, which helps ensure survival of the adult species.

One advantage of the warm water is that it makes it possible for them to hunt for food even when they are molting. Due to cold water temperatures, most penguin species lack access to food during their molting seasons, so underweight birds can face starvation in years when food is scarce. In this regard, Galapagos Penguins have it easy.

Learn more about these peculiar penguins here.

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