Humboldt penguin

Spheniscus humboldti

penguin 1
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae

Our colony of Humboldt penguins can be found behind Tippy’s Takeaway in the middle of Newquay Zoo.

The preferred habitat of the Humboldt penguin is rocky terrains along the coastline. The species is distributed along the Pacific Coast of Chile and Peru.

They are piscivorous so eat fish, mainly anchovies, krill and squid.

Interesting facts!

  • Humboldt penguins make nests in between cracks and crevices in rocks from a substance called guano (which is actually penguin poo).
  • The Humboldt penguin was named after the Humboldt current where they swim and catch their food. The Humboldt current is a cold current that runs from Chile to Peru along South America’s west coast. The current was named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer.
  • Humboldt penguins can reach swimming speeds of up to 25mph and spend up to 75% of their time in the water!


The population of Humboldt penguins is declining, caused in part by over-fishing, climate change and ocean acidification. Penguins are also declining in numbers due to habitat destruction, and in the over-collecting of guano by humans. Removal of guano means that penguins cannot build their nests up adequately to protect their chicks, leaving them exposed to predators and severe weather conditions.