The Galápagos Penguin, the world’s rarest species of penguin, is the only type to live on the equator.
The smallest of the warm weather penguins, it is 40 to 45 cm tall and weighs just 2 to 2.5 kg. Galapagos penguins have a thin white band under their chin and a black, inverted horseshoe shape around their belly. Males and females have similar plumage but females tend to be smaller. They eat small fish such as mullet and sardines, and numbers were decimated some 20 years ago when severe weather conditions caused drastic food shortages. Because they live to close to the equator, the Galapagos penguins keep cool by staying in the cold water of the Cromwell Current during the day, sleeping and nesting on land at night when it is colder. When on land during the day, the penguins protect their feet from sunburn by holding their flippers over them.
Galapagos penguins are found mainly on Fernandina and Isabela islands, though there are small populations on other islands in the archipelago.