The ‘Malaga penguin’ that can be seen in the harbour

Alca Torda Photo: Flickr CC / Paco Lopez

The auk (alca torda), a species of seabird native to the cold coasts of Iceland, has been spotted in the port of Malaga and many observers thought they had seen a penguin.

Although it is not unusual for it to arrive on the coast to spend the winter, it is an “increasingly rare” marine species. They are physically similar to penguins, heavy, expert divers and have short wings, but unlike penguins they retain the ability to fly.

“It is a species related to the puffin and wintering on our coast. It is becoming rarer and rarer,” say experts talking to Malaga Hoy. The ornithological information platform of the Malaga Provincial Council states on its website that this bird, halfway between seagulls and penguins, is rare in the province of Malaga. They can be seen from the coast in the port of Málaga and the coastal area from Marbella to Estepona and between Manilva and Casares.

This is not the first discovery of such a species in the province of Malaga. Last summer, bathers also saw a similar ‘penguin’ on the beach of La Carihuela in Torremolinos. In that case it was a specimen of the common Arao, an endangered bird popularly known as the ‘Galician penguin’ because it nests on the coasts of A Coruña and is very similar to the Arctic penguins, although it is not related to them.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.