The bird most people wish to see at Boulders is the African Penguin. It is also know as the Jackass Penguin because of its donkey-like braying call. Several species of South American penguins also have the donkey-like calls. Since the penguin species found at Boulders is the only penguin species to breed in Africa, African Penguin is now the preferred name.
Partly due to a reduction in commercial fishing in False Bay, there is an abundant supply of small shoaling fish on which the penguins prey. Boulders is also favoured as a penguin breeding locality because there are fewer predators than elsewhere along the coast. The park's bushes provide ample shade for nesting birds and their chicks, which suffer from heat stress on hot sunny days.
The increasing number of penguins in and around Boulders can become a problem. The concentration of guano droppings under the bushes may eventually poison more sensitive plants through over-fertilisation. Penguins already trample most of the softer, smaller plants. Neighbouring humans have complained about the smell and the noise penguins make, especially at night when penguins are most vocal. These complaints pose a threat to conservationists, as the African penguin is a declared "endangered" species in the Western Cape. The overall population has fallen by some 90% globally during the past 10 years.
Boulders is one of only three places out of the current 24 breeding localities at which the penguin population is showing any increase, despite strong efforts to protect penguins at all their breeding colonies.
Did you know?
- Like humans have unique fingerprints, the black spots on a penguin''s chest is their unique "fingerprint".
- The pink above a penguin''s eye is a sweat gland. The hotter a penguin gets the pinker the sweat gland gets.
- Only the adult penguins have a single stripe band across their chest.
- When a penguin sneezes it is not because it has a cold. Penguins have a special gland at the back of their head that enables them to extract the salt from the sea water they drink. The salt is crystalised so that the penguin can sneeze it out.
- In the first four days of a penguins life, it sheds its baby down.
- A young penguin is also known as a "Blue" due to the colour of its coat.
- A female penguin reaches sexual maturity after about four years, a male after about five years.
- The yolk of a penguin''s egg isn''t yellow, it''s blue.
- When a penguin twists its head from side to side, it is not a sign of curiosity but a sign of warning before they lunge to bite.