Hawaii Penguins: Do They Exist?

Though it may come as a surprise, penguins actually live in Hawaii. We typically think of penguins as being found only in the Southern Hemisphere, but a few species inhabit temperate regions like South Africa. There is even one that lives close to the equator on the Galapagos Islands.

Although penguins are not native to Hawaii, they have been introduced to the region in recent years. Many people will be surprised to know that there are now penguins living in Hawaii.

hawaii penguins
Hawaiian Penguins

Hawaii’s Habitat

Hawaii is an island state located in the southernmost part of the United States. It is surrounded by water on all sides and is not connected to any other neighboring states. Hawaii consists of eight main islands, as well as several smaller islands and islets.

The Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanic activity, and in the 18th and 19th centuries, the state was struck by damaging earthquakes and tsunamis.

Hawaii boasts a tropical climate year-round, with no snowfall. The dry season is from May to October, while the wet season falls from October to April. In fact, Hawaii sees more rainfall than any other place on Earth and is second only to another region in terms of annual rainfall accumulation.

How Can Hawaii Penguins Survive?

Contrary to popular belief, penguins can live in warm climates too. Take South Africa for example where you’ll find the African penguin. It must however be said, that waters in which they live in South Africa are rather cold.

Penguins are divided based on where they live. Penguins living in the true Antarctic regions include emperor penguins, Adelie and gentoo penguins. Other penguin species reside in sub-Antarctic or other temperate zones including New Zealand and Australia.

The African penguin, also called the Jackass penguin or black-footed penguin, is the species of penguin now found in Hawaii. Its donkey-like bray gave it the name Jackass penguin. Another type of Penguin, the Humboldt Penguin, is also found in one of Hawaii’s zoos.

hawaii penguin
Hawaii Penguin

Places Where You’ll Find Penguins in Hawaii?

If you’re looking to see some Hawaii penguins on your vacation, Waikiki Beach Resort, Hilton Hawaiian Village and Hyatt Regency, Kaanapali Beach, Maui are a few of the places where you can find them.

Unfortunately, since black-footed penguins have been found to be endangered, they have been taken care of under survival programs created in order to conserve the species.

Only authorized researchers and zoo officials can go near the penguins under special surveillance. If you’re looking to see some black-footed penguins up close, head on over to the Hyatt Regency resort in Maui during the world penguin day parade.

The Honolulu Zoo is home to four male, endangered African penguins that you can see swimming, waddling and moving about. If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, be sure to put this spot on your itinerary!

At the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, seven African Black-Footed Penguins reside in a penguin habitat near the Atrium Lobby. These types of penguins do well in warm climates and have no problem living in tropical Hawaii.

On average, these playful creatures consume 100 pounds of fish every week. Guests can watch them eat, swim, sunbathe, dig burrows in the sand and just waddle around.

African Penguins

The African penguin, which is also sometimes called the Cape penguin or South African penguin, only lives near southern Africa. All existing penguins cannot fly because their bodies and wings are shaped specifically for an aquatic lifestyle.

On average, adults weigh between 4.9 and 7.7 pounds, and are 24 to 28 inches tall. They have pink skin above their eyes ,and a black facial mask . Their upper body is black with white underparts that are spotted and marked with a black band.

The African penguin is a pursuit diver that primarily feeds on fish and squid. It was once extremely numerous, however it’s declining rapidly due to a combination of threats and is now classified as endangered.

The black-footed penguin, also called the African penguin or Jackass penguin, is a popular tourist attraction because of its charisma. It got its nickname from the loud sound it makes that resembles a donkey braying. These animals are found along the coastlines of South Africa and Namibia.

african penguins in cape town
African Penguin

In Summary

By taking a cruise that starts from specific places in the United States, you can travel to Hawaii and see magnificent wildlife up-close. For example, many zoos have African and Humboldt penguin programs where visitors can observe these creatures in captivity, albeit spacious surroundings.

If you visit a zoo in Hawaii, you will have the chance to see penguins up close. These birds are not easy to spot in the wild, but because they are in a protected environment in Hawaii, you can find them relatively easily.

The only unfortunate thing is that there are no penguins in Hawaii that have formed natural colonies. They are also found in relatively small numbers. Hopefully, these species will grow in the wild and never face extinction.

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