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Earning our colours, a quick guide to our age

Earning our colours, a quick guide to our age

African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary

All fluff, no feathers

So, the fluffy chicks are not at sea-going age. They are the babies, relying on their parents for food, warmth & shelter. They have the “Aaaaah” factor and a loud squeaky voice with huge attention seeking value. From hatching to fledging takes approximately 60 days in ideal conditions but it can take as long as 130 days.

The inbetweeners

The stages provide some excellent funny photo features but it is no fun if these “inbetweeners” got to sea. Until they have lost all their fluffy down, they are not waterproof.

Big blue adventure

Once they shed their fluff, they are ready to fledge and face the open ocean on their own. In African penguin speak they are called “Blues”. The term “blue” refers to the blue sheen on their feathers. They have a blue/black back & a plain white tummy. They enter the ocean and start the perilous life of trying to survive to adulthood against all odds. They leave the colony of their birth and explore far and wide.

Nobody loves me

Nobody goes through life without experiencing the “teenage phase”. You wear funny clothes, you do not fit in anywhere, you have wayward hair. The African penguin equivalent is the Juvenile. Noticeable by their drab brown feather colour and splotchy white headgear. The juvenile African penguin is literally the ugly duckling on their way to become a full colour, 007 tuxedo wearing, iconic adult African penguin.

Earning our colours, a quick guide to our age

African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary

APSS has been set up to assist the endangered African penguin colonies of Dyer Island, an Important Bird Area, where the species has declined dramatically over 30 years, almost 90%. The other nearby colony is Stony Point at Betty’s Bay. This facility will have a fully equipped lab and a vet on sta...

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