20 de January de 2023


Today Penguin Awareness Day, a day when we invite you to send your love to these amazing birds and to think about how to protect them, as some of which are endangered.

Of the 18 penguin species, 13 are endangered. Climate change, intensive fishing, the introduction of invasive species — among other factors — have led to a dramatic decline in populations.

At L’Aquàrium de Barcelona you will see the Humboldt penguin, a vulnerable species according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, as their populations have decreased considerably.

It is a species that lives in temperate climates, in areas near the equator, and uses cold currents to feed. They are endemic to the coasts of Chile and Peru, although they have also been seen several times on the coasts of Argentina and Ecuador. 

These small penguins — between 3 and 5 kg in weight and no more than 70 cm in height — are seriously threatened by poaching and illegal trafficking. Chicks and/or younger specimens are sold on the black market as exotic pets or pieces for private collections. In addition, their meat is considered exquisite in some coastal regions. Overfishing represents a decrease in the amount of food available for these penguins, and the industrialisation of cities reduces and damages their habitat.

Global warming and certain weather phenomena as a result of climate change result in a rise in the temperature of the waters they inhabit, and in changes in the nutrient-rich ocean currents that they feed on. 

Penguins are popular around the world, and if everyone who loves these charismatic birds learns what threats they face and takes measures to protect them, all penguin species can thrive. Investment in conservation programs, education of the population to decrease their environmental impact and the introduction of laws that criminalise poaching are key elements for their survival.

The penguins of L’Aquàrium

In L’Aquàrium we have a colony of 24 penguins: 14 males and 10 females.

Did you know that…

  • They show no visible differences, and a blood test is required in order to know their sex.
  • To differentiate males from females, we must look at the strands that lead to the fins. Each strand consists of 5 balls: the first 4 correspond to the identification of the individual and the fifth to the sex: blue indicates male, and pink means that the penguin is female. 
  • Some have a partner! They are monogamous animals, and some couples stay two or more years together, although others prefer to change each year.
  • They lay two eggs, which take 40 days to develop. Chicks do not leave the nest until 2 months later..
  • SThey’re gluttons! They feed on herring and similar fish two times a day. Abi, their caretaker, feeds them one by one, though she sometimes throws the food into the water to get them to dive a little. They like playing! See the schedules for our feeding times.
  • All our penguins have names: J.J. and Dolça are the most stable couple in our colony; Mikasa is the son of Dixie and Pixie, and Mustafa is the most spoilt by Abi, his caretaker..

All of this and much more is explained to you by their carers during the weekend afternoons at L’Aquàrium de Barcelona. The Elegance of the Penguin is the new season of activities where penguins are our protagonists. We offer workshops, conversations and a game of clues to enjoy your visit even more.

At L’Aquàrium de Barcelona we work for the sustainability and conservation of the marine ecosystem.