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One of my goals for our visit to the Galapagos was to get a chance to swim with the tiny Galapagos penguins (Sphensicus mendiculus). I love penguins and the idea of seeing them in equatorial waters was exciting. Although they are clumsy on the rocks, these little penguins are quick and agile in the water. When we were snorkeling, they zipped around us without any fear.

The Galápagos penguin is one of the smallest penguins in the world; it’s only about  fourteen inches tall when standing upright. They have black wings and upper parts with white underneath. The head is black with a white eye-stripe extending around to the throat. The bill has a dark upper mandible; while the lower mandible has a dark tip and pale mid-section, gradually turning to pale orange at the base.

Galápagos penguins breed at any time of the year when the food supply is abundant, but most commonly from May to January. They choose a mate for life and nest in small colonies in holes or crevices in the rocks close to shore. The normal clutch is two eggs, of which only one chick generally survives.

Where to see them: Galápagos penguins are found mainly on Fernandina and the northern and western sides of Isabela, although they do breed in small numbers on Bartolomé, Floreana, and possibly on Santiago. They are seen occasionally elsewhere in the islands, such as on Sombrero Chino.

Would you like to be part of Midge & Snig’s adventure in the Galapagos? Want to have your name (or any name you choose) in my next book? From now until the end of April, everyone who follows my blog, signs up for my newsletter, or leaves a comment, will be entered in a drawing for the chance to name the cruise ship featured in the book.

This post in part of the AtoZ Challenge. Please click on the sunflower AtoZ icon in the sidebar to go to the official list of participating blogs. This year my theme is the Galapagos Islands. I am in the process of writing the first of my Midge & Snig mystery series set in the islands. In my research, I have come across a plethora of interesting facts and images. The vast majority of my research won’t get included in the book, but it’s fun to share what I’ve learned with you all.