Humboldt penguin

Humboldt penguin

Spheniscus humboldti

IUCN status
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Humboldt penguin

« The Humboldt penguin can hold its breath for around ten minutes on average. »

The penguin’s habitat

On land or in the water!

The Humboldt penguin’s name is linked with the area it inhabits. This species lives on the mainland and island coasts of Chile and Peru, which are fed by the Humboldt current, a cold-water ocean current that is rich in nutrients… and fish! Though it spends most of its time in coastal waters, the Humboldt penguin must regularly make its way back onto land to rest, breed, moult, and take care of its young. Once a year, the Humboldt penguin entirely regrows its plumage. During this moulting period, the plumage loses its waterproof and insulating properties. The penguin will therefore remain on land until its plumage is recovered and is once again in optimal condition.

Humboldt penguin

Did you know?

Un Œil en Coulisse - Saison 5 Ép 28

Un manchot pas comme les autres !

Dans ce nouvel épisode d’un Œil en Coulisse, plongez dans le bassin des manchots de Humboldt ! À Beauval, ils vivent par couple au sein d’une large colonie. Protection du nid, nourrissage des jeunes… comment les manchots s’organisent-ils ? Réponse à travers l’histoire de Senna…

The Beauval Nature association

For the past 10 years, the Beauval Nature association has joined forces with field workers to support them in their primary mission of species conservation. Beauval works closely with numerous conservation and research programmes around the world to study and protect endangered species. This everyday action takes place in order to protect our biodiversity.

Humboldt penguin

Beauval’s penguins

The penguin pool is one of Beauval’s must-sees! 

Its large viewing windows allow you to observe them both on land and underwater. 

If you cannot see all of our penguins in the pool during one of the many feeding times, it will be because some are watching over the chicks that are in their nest.

Humboldt penguin
Humboldt penguin
Humboldt penguin
Humboldt penguin
Beauval Nature

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Learn more about the species

  • Diet
  • Incubation
    40 to 42 days
  • Clutch size
    1 to 2 eggs
  • Habitat
    Rocky coasts


Most penguins moult between mid-January and mid-February, however the initiation varies with latitude and favourable conditions such as food abundance. Humboldt penguins are confined to land until they finish moulting. They become hyperphagic during the pre-moulting period. The feathers are lost and replaced within 2 weeks.

The adoption expert

The Humboldt penguin is one of many species in which same sex pairings can be observed in the wild and in zoological parks. When the mating season comes around, these pairs will also nest, but because they are unable to lay eggs, they will often concentrate their efforts on pebbles that look like eggs. In the wild, some may even adopt an abandoned egg that they have found on the shore. In zoological parks, like Beauval, it is sometimes possible to replace the stone that they are looking after with an egg left behind by another couple. This method guarantees as many births as possible, without human intervention for rearing the chicks.

A champion swimmer

Although the penguin moves awkwardly on dry land, it is very agile when in the water. It can reach top speeds of nearly 20 mph! The Humboldt penguin can hold its breath for around ten minutes on average and can dive to depths of about thirty metres! When on aquatic outings, the penguin can rapidly swim to the surface and jump slightly out of the water to take quick breaths. This technique is called “porpoising”, named after the porpoise, an aquatic mammal that is closely related to the dolphin.

Where can I see them in the park?

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Other species in the territory

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