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African Penguins



African Penguins
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.2

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    black-footed, gray-blue, guano, jackass, breed, species, entire, droppings, ashore, shoreline, spills, easily, backs, bands, commercial, endanger
     content words:    When African, Baby African


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African Penguins
By Vickie Chao
  

1     African penguins are very cute! They have black eyes, black backs, black wings, and black chins. On each side of their faces is a wide white band. These two bands start from the tips of their beaks. They circle around their eyes and run along their chins. African penguins have white bellies with black spots. They have a narrow black band across their chests and down their flanks toward their legs. African penguins' beaks are black with a single pale band. Their clawed, webbed feet are black with pink spots.
 
2     As their name suggests, African penguins live in Africa. They are mostly found on small islands off the coast of southern Africa. African penguins have two nicknames -- black-footed penguins and jackass penguins. The first name comes from their black feet. The second comes from the sound they make. When African penguins call out, they shriek like donkeys. Since donkeys are also known as jackasses, people nicknamed African penguins "jackass penguins."
 
3     African penguins do not have a specific breeding season. They breed all year round. When a pair of African penguins is ready to become parents, they come ashore and build their nest by digging into sand and guano (dried bird droppings.) The female African penguin lays 2 eggs. She and her husband take turns guarding the nest and incubating the eggs. Their babies hatch after about 37 days. Baby African penguins have gray down feathers covering their entire bodies when they first break out of the shells. Then, their backs turn gray-blue and their bellies white. They don't yet have white bands on their faces and black bands across their chests like their parents. Baby African penguins are helpless, so their parents do not leave them alone. There is always one parent staying home to take care of the young. The other goes out to catch fish and squid. Baby African penguins grow fast. In about 8-18 weeks, they are ready to bid their parents goodbye and live by themselves.

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Animal Themes
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Birds
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Polar Regions
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             Penguins



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    Insects  
 
 
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