Volume 46, No. 1

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Colour aberrations in African Penguins Spheniscus demersus


1 DST-NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Institute for Coastal and Marine Research and Department of Zoology at the Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa (
2 Addo Elephant Marine Section, South African National Parks, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
3 Raggy Charters, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


TRAISNEL, G., PICHEGRU, L., VISSER, H.J. & EDWARDS, L.C. 2018. Colour aberrations in African Penguins Spheniscus demersus. Marine Ornithology 46: 19 - 22

Received 31 July 2017, accepted 3 October 2017

Date Published: 2018/4/15
Date Online: 2018/2/16
Key words: African Penguin, abnormal plumages, Algoa Bay, partial-leucism, isabellism, ino mutation, brown mutation


Colour aberrations among wild birds are of long-time interest because they are uncommon, particularly in seabirds, although recent publications have revealed varying forms of aberrations in cormorants and penguins. In African Penguins Spheniscus demersus, there have been previous sightings of abnormal plumages, particularly in Algoa Bay, South Africa. This paper reveals new cases of plumage aberrations in African Penguins: partial-leucism, isabellism, 'ino' and 'brown' mutations, all within Algoa Bay. While all aberrations seemed of natural origin, one in the shape of a number eight may have resulted from human actions.


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