P is for Galapagos Penguin
This little guy, only 49cm-55cm, is one of the smallest penguins in the world and is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It is the most northerly occurring penguin species, nesting entirely in the tropics, with some colonies living on the northern tip of Isabela in the Northern Hemisphere. They are a burrow-dwelling Penguin but as there is no soft peat in which to burrow on the Galapagos Islands, Galapagos penguins instead live in caves and crevices in the coastal lava.
As with all penguin species, they are extremely agile under water, reaching speeds of 35 km per hour when hunting. Their diet consists primarily of cold-water schooling fish, such as anchovies, sardines and mullet, which are able to live in the Galapagos Marine Reserve thanks to the cold waters of the Humboldt Current.
Galapagos penguins mate for life, with the female laying between one and two eggs which are incubated for 35-40 days. The dark-brown chicks fledge at the age of eight to nine weeks old. Penguin breeding success is very closely linked to environmental conditions; therefore climate change is a major threat to their future. In 1982, there was a particularly strong El Niño event that caused 77% of the population to die of starvation and the population has been recovering ever since. The current population is estimated to be just 2,000 birds.