14th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
twin Jackass penguin babies beg for food, a mother's choice
I arrive at Boulders Beach in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. As the name suggests, the beach is crowded with giant boulders and a colony of Jackass Penguins AKA African Penguins. It is a short walk to the beach through a residential neighborhood, not an area in which one would expect to see waddling penguins in their yards. There are boardwalks so visitors may walk in closer to the silly, cute noisy birds. The Jackass Penguins are quite different as they have black polka dots on their big white bellies. Each bird has a uniquely placed set of dots. I see under one of the boulders a mother penguin being harassed by her two chicks. The chicks are fairly well grown up as there is only a small fringe of brown fluffy plumage left around their necks. The two chicks fight off each other while try to get the morsels of food that the mother hides in her mouth. They peck at the mother and screech out loud. It truly is the mother's choice which young bird will get the morsel and which will get the most to eat. In this case each bird appears quite well fed.
© Marilyn Adelman.
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||Nov. 30, 2016, 10:28 p.m.