Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Smaller than its fellow penguins, the Galapagos penguin, or Spheniscus mendiculus, is the only species of penguin living in tropical areas north of the equator. They are native to the Galápagos Islands, which are part of the country of Ecuador.
See the fact file below for more information on the Galapagos penguin or alternatively, you can download our 18-page Galapagos Penguin worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The species of Galápagos penguins, Spheniscus mendiculus, is a member of the Spheniscidae family of the animal kingdom, along with other aquatic flightless birds.
- They are also part of the group of banded penguins under the genus Spheniscus. There are four species of banded penguins, including the Galápagos penguin.
- The Galápagos penguin is the second smallest species of penguin after the Eudyptula minor, or “little penguin”, found off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand.
- Adult Galápagos penguins only reach 49 centimeters in length and 2.5 kilograms in weight, with male penguins being slightly larger than females.
- They are easily distinguished by the C-shaped band of feathers extending along their eyes and chin. They also have a single band of black feathers that cuts across a section of their white breast.
- Young Galápagos penguin chicks are covered in fluffy, light gray feathers, and they do not possess the chest band of black feathers present in adults.
- Since Galápagos penguins are confined to the archipelago of the Gálapagos Islands, they look for food in the water during the day and return to land at night.
- These penguins are extremely agile when hunting underwater, and they can reach a speed of 35 kilometers while swimming.
- They cool their bodies primarily by going into the water, but they also have different means of regulating their body temperatures while on land. One method involves them hunching forward with their flippers outstretched so they can cover their feet from the heat of the sun.
HABITAT AND DIET
- The cool water from the Humboldt and Cromwell currents of the Pacific Ocean allow the Galápagos penguins to survive in the otherwise tropical climate of the archipelago.
- They mainly inhabit the western portion of the archipelago, but they also occasionally venture into other islands in the area.
- They stay in caves and small holes in the islands’ coastal lava.
- The diet of Galápagos penguins consists mostly of small fish, like sardines and crustaceans.
- They hunt for prey less than 60 meters below the surface of the water.
- Galápagos penguins mate for life, which means that they form pairs and stay together throughout the rest of their lives. Females lay 1 to 2 eggs during breeding season, and they are then incubated for 35 to 40 days.
- Chicks are produced and laid throughout the year, depending on the conditions of the El Niño, or extreme dry season. The El Niño causes the sea water to increase in temperature and heat up, which lessens the Galápagos penguins’ food source. Lack of consistent food supply makes it difficult to raise and protect their offspring, decreasing the chicks’ chances of survival.
- Females lay their eggs in burrows or rocky caves without too much vegetation. Both male and female Gálapagos penguins take turns incubating the eggs.
- Once the eggs hatch, both parents will hunt for food to feed their chicks. When the chicks reach their fledgling stage, or when they are being prepared for adulthood, they leave the breeding nest and hunt for fish on their own. This occurs when they are around 10-12 weeks old.
PREDATORS AND THREATS
- When on land, Galápagos penguins face possible threats from predators such as snakes, owls, and hawks, although this is generally minimal.
- More serious threats come in the form of cats, dogs, and rodents that have been introduced by humans on the islands. These animals attack both adult and young Galápagos penguins.
- In water, they may be hunted by sharks, fur seals, or sea lions. They can also sometimes get caught in fishing nets.
- Galápagos penguins are currently listed as endangered, with their population being in constant decline since the 19th century.
- One of the primary causes for this decline is the worsening conditions brought by the El Niño. Severe El Niño events, as well as commercial fishing by humans, pose a threat to the penguin’s food supply.
- Another evident risk to their populations is marine pollution carried over from human populations in nearby areas.
Galapagos Penguin Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Galapagos penguin across 18 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Galapagos Penguin worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Galapagos penguin, or Spheniscus mendiculus, which is the only species of penguin living in tropical areas north of the equator. They are native to the Galápagos Islands, which are part of the country of Ecuador.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Galápagos Penguin Facts
- Penguins of the North
- Physical Features
- Just Penguin Facts
- A Penguin Story
- More About These Penguins
- Galápagos and Blackfoot
- Other Penguin Species
- Galápagos Penguin Recap
- Call for Help
- Penguin Origami
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Galapagos Penguin Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 3, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.