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Penguins in the Desert

Updated on April 29, 2010
The Humboldt penguin
The Humboldt penguin

A closer look to the Humboldt penguins

If you hear the word penguin, I’m pretty sure that you might think about the cold arctic sea, iceberg, snow blizzard, temperature below zero and other polar things. But, do you know that there is a species of penguin that lives in the desert? No, I am not kidding. It’s true, this species of penguin lives in the desert, especially in the rocky desert shores of Peru and Chile in South America. This kind of penguin is called the Humboldt penguins or the Peruvian penguins. The name Humboldt comes from the Humboldt current which is the name of a cool current that flows north from Antartica.

The deserts in Peru and Chile are probably the driest and hottest deserts on earth. But, these penguins manage to survive. Unlike other species of aves, penguins spend most of their times swimming in the ocean and catching fish for the daily nutrition. They will come ashore only to lay eggs and raise their little ones. This is because their movements on the ground are not as gracefully as if they’re underwater.

The Humboldt penguins are the member of Spheniscus genus. They have black back and white underside, like other penguins do. The special characteristic is the black band along the chest. This band might look like the ones that the Magellanic penguins have, but the Humboldts only have one while the Magellanics have two. The body length of these penguins is about twenty six inches and they weigh about eight to nine pounds. They have hydrodinamic shape, despite of the fat layers around their belly. This shape allows them to swim prretty fast, about nine to twenty miles per hour while catching fish with their strong beaks.

These penguins live in a colony, with their nest close to each other. They usually nest by digging a hole in the dirt. The female penguins usually lay two eggs each nest. The incubating process is carried out by both the female penguin and her mate. They take shifts to incubate the eggs and search for food. If the male penguin keeps the eggs warm, the female penguin will dive into the ocean and find food. And otherwise, if the female penguin keeps the eggs warm, the male penguin will hunt for food.

Recently, the Humboldt penguins are almost extinct. This is because of several reasons. The first reason is that the source of food is decreasing because of the huge fishing boats that catch tons of fish every single day. The other reason is that some of the penguins get tangled in the fish nets while searching for food. But, there is other factor caused by the weather itself. One of the example is the El-Nino, the weather that cause warm current on the coasts of South America. This current will increase the ocean temperature, which cause the pants to die. If the water plants die, the fish which eat them can also die. And this can lead to death for penguins because of the little food source.

The humans should be aware of such problems. If one species is extinct, it can lead to an imbalance for the nature. This imbalance can also lead to a bigger disaster. That’s why we should keep the nature in the proper balance.   


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    • norlawrence profile image

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years ago from California

      Great article. Most people think that penguins and cold go together but they do not always Thanks

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love penguins...thanks for the info...

    • BJBenson profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I had to come back to rate you!

    • Almost Chemist profile imageAUTHOR

      Almost Chemist 

      8 years ago from Indonesia

      You're welcome BJBenson. Hopefully I can continue writing good hubs.

    • BJBenson profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Wow thanks for this HUB!

    • Almost Chemist profile imageAUTHOR

      Almost Chemist 

      8 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you ng0208. Yes, some penguins live in the desert. The world never stops fascinate me.

    • ng0208 profile image


      8 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks for sharing : ) I love penguins but I wasn't aware there was one that could live in the desert. Very interesting read : )

    • Almost Chemist profile imageAUTHOR

      Almost Chemist 

      8 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you thevoice. This is actually what I just found out and I'd like to share it to others.

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      terrific learning hub read thanks


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