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Bird Island Colony (Algoa Bay)

Bird Island is a 3 hectare (7.4 acre) Nature Reserve island found 100 meters off the shore of Lambert’s Bay on the Cape’s West Coast. The terrain of the island is rocky and lacks vegetation.

Management Authority: South African National Parks

Population: Currently 1,853 African Penguin breeding pairs are found on Bird Island (Based on 2021 Census).

Other Notable Species on the Island: Cape Gannet (Morus capensis),Cape Cormorant (Phalacrocorax capensis), Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), Crowned Cormorant (Microcarbo coronatuscape), Cape Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus), Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus), Swift Tern (Thalasseus bergii), Hartlaub’s Gull (Chroicocephalus hartlaubii), African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini)

African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus)

  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Conservation status: Endangered
  • Population TrendDecreasing
  • Prey/diet: Anchovy, sardines, bearded goby (in Namibia), horse mackerel, juvenile hake, redeye, and less commonly cephalopods and crustaceans
A grouping of African penguin chicks molting into adult plumage. One African penguin chick is centered in the image and looking directly at the camera.
African Penguin Chicks admitted to SANCCOB.
Photo source: SANCCOB,

Bird Island Colony Map

African Penguin
Population Trends:

Decreasing arrow

African Penguin Conservation Status:


Updates from the field border image with African Penguin and a noebook.

2022 Quarter 4

African Penguin head being measured.
African Penguin being measured by SANCCOB volunteers.
Photo source: SANCCOB,

In November, SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) admitted over 200 Penguin chicks and has continued to rehabilitate and release penguins.

We have received word from the Cape Town facility that some African Penguins tested positive for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), there is no cure for the Avian Influenza. Unfortunately, the three penguins that tested positive were humanely euthanized. SANCCOB has been placed under quarantine until further notice in effort to minimize the spread of the virus within the facility.

SANCCOB continues to accept abandoned penguins at their off-site quarantine facility. All birds cared for at SANCCOB are being closely observed and monitored for signs of HPAI. The situation has called for additional pathology testing which can cost $60 USD/ 58 EUR/ 1,000 ZAR per bird.

Your support of the Chick Bolstering Project is needed now more than ever. Thank you for choosing to be involved in this initiative.

2023 Quarter 1

Coming soon.