Surprising mass arrival of “penguin birds” on the Spanish coast

The massive and mysterious arrival of penguin-like birds on Spanish coasts surprises experts.

According to wildlife experts, several specimens of ‘Alca torda’ or ‘penguin birds’ have been sighted this week along the coasts of Spain, as well as in other Mediterranean regions such as France and Corsica.

The Alca torda, a species related to the penguins, generally lives all year round in the northwest of the European continent, however, it seems that the birds are changing their usual migration route due to the climate crisis.

According to Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, president of the French League for the Protection of Birds, these pelagic (deep sea) birds normally move on the high seas and only come ashore to breed.

“So not only is it surprising to see them on land, but above all to observe the unusual influx of ‘penguin birds’ in Spain and south-eastern France.” said Bougrain-Dubourg.

Unfortunately, many birds detected in southern Europe arrived in poor condition and several have already been found dead.

It is not yet known why these birds migrate to the Mediterranean. It is also unclear what causes the troubles that ultimately lead to their deaths.

As Bougrain-Dubourg explains, there are different hypotheses that could explain this phenomenon.

One possible explanation is that in northern waters, these birds have difficulty feeding, partly due to the scarcity of fish resources. This, added to the progression of global warming, forces the birds to travel much further to find fish to feed on.

The influx of these birds to the Mediterranean could also be due to severe storms and high winds, as well as an increase in extreme weather events, which may have been driven away from their usual habitat.

Whatever the reason that brought these animals to Mediterranean shores, experts warn that these animals could be a reservoir of disease.

“Many endemic birds such as the ‘Alcas tordas’, which do not have direct contact with humans like the Torda penguins, are plagued by avian flu.

“That’s why it’s very important not to touch these animals,” concluded Bougrain-Dubourg.


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