A vulnerable species
The Humboldt penguin is named after the strip of water it swims in, the Humboldt Current. It is also known as the Peruvian penguin because of the unusual location of this strip of water. They are found along the coast of Chile and Peru, unlike their colder climate relatives.
The Humboldt penguin is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and is one of the most popular bird species living in the Animal Encounters area of Woburn Safari Park.
Humboldt penguins use their droppings (known as 'guano') to line their breeding nest sites. Droppings are high in nitrates and are consequently harvested by farmers for use as fertiliser for Peruvian agriculture.
This activity disturbs breeding behaviours and has made the species vulnerable to extinction, as well as many of the sea bird species in this region of Peru.
There are also massive problems with over-fishing in the area (the region is one of the largest sources of anchovy in the world), leading to declines in sea birds and local wildlife reliant on this food source.
Woburn's Colony of Humboldt Penguins
Woburn Safari Park is home to a small breeding colony of Humboldt penguins. Keepers recognise each individual penguin in the Penguin World enclosure by the spot patterns on their chests; each one has a unique pattern which they keep throughout their life.
You will find them swimming in the pool, splashing around at feeding time, or busy in their nests on the hillside. Their distinctive braying calls can be heard from all around the Animal Encounters section of the park. Check the talks and demonstrations timetable for the daily feed and talk from their keepers.