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This display is most frequently seen and heard when a penguin has wandered into another’s territory.It communicates territory ownership, identifies the penguin (each bird’s bray is unique) and often draws the mate back to their territory.Males are banded on the right, females on the left.Couples, which typically have the same colored wing bands, can often be seen grooming one another near the nest box they share.You can watch our penguins exhibiting this behavior when walking on land and approaching a nest box.Ecstatic Display The most common and loudest behavior of the African Penguin is the ecstatic display, seen and heard every day in the exhibit. Whatever the reason, penguins have a knack for capturing our hearts. Or perhaps it's the fact that they are highly social and form long-term bonds.
The physical features of the exhibit—water, rocky shore, cozy burrows—encourage the full range of penguin behaviors, and through sophisticated use of light and temperature controls, Academy penguins experience sunrise, sunset, and everything in between.Breeding pairs in the wild dig burrows in guano or sand, or build nests under bushes and boulders, but past guano collection by people has made suitable burrow territory harder to come by.Conservation efforts in Africa include ongoing monitoring of population trends, and introducing artificial nesting structures.Based on major population declines (at least 90 percent over the 20th century), African penguins were designated as an endangered species in September 2010 by the IUCN and the USFWS.In 1930, there were roughly a million of these charmers in their native West African habitat, but penguin biologists now estimate that there are only about 25,000 African penguin pairs remaining in the wild.