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African Penguins feed primarily on shoaling pelagic fish such as anchovies, pilchards (sardines), horse mackerel and round herrings, supplemented by squid and crustaceans. When on the hunt for prey, they can reach a top speed of up to 20 kilometres per hour.

The distance that these penguins have to travel to find food varies, both temporally and spatially. On the west coast a typical foraging trip could range from 30 to 70 kilometres. for a single trip. On the south coast, foraging birds cover an average of 110 kilometres per trip.

When penguins are feeding their young, the distance they can travel from the breeding colony is more limited. An average dive of an African Penguin lasts about two and a half minutes and is regularly about 30 metres in depth, although dive depths of up to 130 metres have been recorded.

African Penguins start breeding from between 2 to 6 years of age, but normally at 4 years. As with most other penguins, the African Penguin breeds colonially, mostly on rocky offshore islands, either nesting in burrows they excavate themselves, or in depressions under boulders or bushes. Shelter at the nest site is important to provide shade (and protection against the temperate climate) and for protection against predators of eggs and chicks, such as Kelp Gulls and Sacred Ibises.

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