Banded penguins

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Phylum:--- Chordata
Class:------ Aves (Birds)
Order:-------- Sphenisciformes
Family:-------- Spheniscidae (Penguins)
Genus:--------- Spheniscus (Banded Penguins)
Species:-------- 4 species

The genus Spheniscus (scientific name: Spheniscus - "little wedge", alluding to the shape of the flippers) consists of four species of so-called 'banded penguins' within the Spheniscidae:

Like all penguins, banded penguins are characterized by their erect posture, stiff wings, excellent swimming ability, awkward movement on land, and coloration.The black back and white front make penguins difficult to see when swimming, helping them to blend in with the sea from above and the sky from below.

Banded penguins are distinctive by way of :

  • a black-and-white head pattern with exposed facial (loral) skin
  • a black horseshoe mark on their underside

The genus contains the most northerly of the penguins - the Galapagos Penguin, which lives close to the Equator

    • Galapagos Penguin - Galápagos Archipelago                                                         
    • Humboldt Penguin - Peru/Northern Chile                                                             
    • Magellanic Penguin  - Southern Chile/Argentina + Falkland Islands             
    • Black-footed/African Penguin - Namibia/South Africa                                                            
They also exhibit a flexible breeding season, with some populations breeding throughout the year.

While Banded penguins are the most northerly of the penguins, they are associated with cold, nutrient-rich currents. 


caption Black-footed/African penguin. Source:Silvie Hojná, Petr Bašus/BioLib/Encyclopedia of Life
caption (wikimedia commons)
caption Magellanic penguin. Source: Jim Ross/BioLib/Encyclopedia of Life
caption Galapagos penguin. Source: putneymark/Wikipedia


Further Reading:

  • Spheniscus (accessed March 29, 2009) 


Saundry, P., & Life, E. (2010). Banded penguins. Retrieved from


To add a comment, please Log In.