10 Penguin Species in Hawaii (With Pictures)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

In a previous article I wrote, I took you on a tour of wild donkeys in the city of Hawaii.

In this article, I will like to introduce to you, the species of Penguins currently in Hawaii. Each of these species is unique in appearance and ability.

One would not expect so much from Penguins but these creatures have some surprises for us. Let us explore them together:

1. African Penguin: 

Weighs up to 3.5kg and 70cm tall, African Penguins usually have a pink patch close to their eyes but are generally black with a white underbelly.

If you have a fish and a squid, you can successfully feed this Penguin. It’s quite fascinating how this specie could make a lot of noise like a donkey.

The males have slightly longer beaks and they can allow strangers to approach them but not touch them.

Few of these breeds live in Hawaii while others live in South Africa.

They are very good divers on water and they can stay under the water for close to 5 minutes in search of food.

African Penguins spend most of their lives at the sea until it is winter when they move away to mate and breed.

At the sea, their primary predators are the sharks.

In Hawaii, you can find the African penguins only at the zoo because they do not need a particularly cold habitat to survive.

2. Magellanic Penguin: 

Named after Ferdinand Magellan the Portuguese explorer, the Magellanic Penguin is medium-sized with a black back and white abdomen.

This specie of Penguin feeds on crustaceans. They prey on seafood by diving as deep as 50 meters to get food.

During its hunting expedition, the Magellanic Penguin move in a drove alongside others but when it is set to mate, it isolates and builds nests under bushes for that purpose.

Interestingly, both the male and female Penguins incubate and hatch the eggs in the nest by taking turns.

The Magellanic sticks to one partner year in and year out. Human interactions with the habitat can cause serious disruption to the growth of Penguin chicks. 

Here is an article I wrote about can penguins see in the dark

3. Humboldt Penguin 

This specie of Penguin is fond of rocky coasts.

Although they originate from South America, a few of these can be seen in Hawaii today.

The Humboldt is medium-sized and has a black head and white color carefully running through the black.

The Humboldt does not want to relate with any human, so if you approach a Humboldt, it will yell at you and vigorously chase you if choose not to take caution.

Interestingly, the Humboldt Penguin sheds its skin every mid-January and every mid-February of the year.

It takes a Humboldt half an hour to recover to its normal heart rate after the visitation of a human into its habitat, oftentimes, if it has a nest there, it is likely to abandon it upon frequent visitation by a human, leading to the Humboldt continued decrease.

4. Yellow Eyed Penguin 

This specie of Penguin can be identified by its feather, forehead, crown, and eye which are all yellow.

They can weigh about 5kg and have a life span of 20 years on average. They feed on fish primarily but they also enjoy other seafood.

The yellow-eyed Penguin is an exceptional diver that can go as deep as the seabed for hunting.

In Hawaii, this specie of Penguins loves to stay around the Kaanapali beach and the Waimea beach.

They are responsible parents who take turns to nest their eggs and also share responsibilities to parent their chicks.

Sadly, this Penguin is an endangered specie and is currently the rarest specie.

5. Snares Penguin

The Snares Penguin are typically noisy and very social specie of Penguin.

They love to build their nests together in groups. They have red-brown eyes, a black head, and a white belly.

This specie has found a comfortable habitat in Hawaii where it continues to thrive.

They are very good migrants and they love to nest next to a stream or a water body, hence they can fly thousands of miles to find a suitable location.

Reproduction commences at age 9 and the couple stick to each other for at least a season.

After hatching, both parents care for the chicks for 11 months, and thereafter, the chicks are deemed mature.

Snares Penguins are moderately weighted at an average of 4kg.

Also check out this article I wrote on can penguins eat chocolate

6. Macaroni Penguin 

They are among the largest in number.. Macaroni Penguin feeds on crustaceans and has a very long wing.

The yellow patch on the center of its forehead is its most distinct feature.

Shedding off their feathers is a yearly routine for these birds, during which time, they stay on the shore of Hawaii to recover.

At the end of 3 weeks, recovery is completed and sea hunting continues.

Like the Snares Penguin, Macaroni Penguins are very social, living in colonies.

While the female Macaroni Penguin hunts for food, the male stay at home looking after the chicks. I find this feministic cooperation intriguing.

Pollution and Climate change can adversely affect the Macaroni Penguin and lead to sterility, especially among females.

7. Southern Rockhopper Penguin 

Very small in size, this specie of Penguin are highly industrious and can work for 15 hours hunting in the sea.

They can dive deep down into the sea in search of food, spending about 3 minutes under the water.

This specie is the most human tolerant among all other species of Penguin, hence it is the most common to humans and most frequently shown on media.

It has yellow feathers and red eyes.

8. Emperor Penguin 

This massive specie can weigh about 45kg and its hunting skill surpasses all others..

It can stay under the sea for close to 30 minutes hunting fish and crustaceans.

An Emperor can live 20 years and above. During incubation, this specie can protect its egg for over 2 months without eating and without dying.

The Emperor Penguin can within the coldest weather through its thermo-regulation without any health consequences.

They are very strong and almost impossible to tame.

The sight of this Emperor Penguin in Hawaii is best enjoyed at zoos since the Penguin might be intolerant.

One beautiful and comic sight about the Emperor Penguin is its wobbly movement on dry land as though it would fall. 

9. Imperial Shag 

Its feather is black and glossy and its belly is white.

This specie of Penguin is beautiful to behold. This social Penguin always stays in colonies, nonetheless, it loses most of its eggs to predators around.

Weighing about 4kg, the Imperial Shag cannot be considered large, however, it is a very complex creature with a dedicated routine around foraging, parenting, and nest building.

There is quite a good number in Hawaii and they are waiting to be seen.

10. Gentoo Penguin 

Also known as the trumpeting penguin. This specie is the third largest of all penguins

They can weigh up to 8kg and they swim the fastest of all the penguins. Like their counterpart, the Gentoo feed on fish and crustaceans.

Before breeding, this specie has to travel away from the sea 2km into the land area of Hawaii with a companion.

One fascinating fact I hold about the Gentoo Penguin is its high moral standard.

For instance, when anyone in a couple, mates with another Gentoo other than its mate, the colony of Penguin banishes that defaulting Penguin. 

Hawaii’s coastal areas make it a comfort zone for various species of Penguins.

Most of these species are not endangered yet and we can conclude by saying, the Penguins have a sustainable means of feeding and wield a strong defense against human predators.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox

Leave a Comment