I´ve had many request
for more general facts about penguins,
especially for various school projects. I started a little page with a few
vital facts and hope to add more stuff.
Flightless, aquatic birds living
in the southern hemisphere.
They have three layers of short thick feathers
and are insulated from the freezing waters by a layer
of fat underneath the feathers. The feathers are
water-repellant.The wings are stiff fin-like flippers
used for swimming. While swimming they use their
feet and tail as rudders.
There are 17 or 18 species,
which you can see more
closely described and pictured HERE. Most of them live in
Antarctica and islands close to Antarctica, but there are
also penguins in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa,
Galapagos and South America.
Four of the species are threatened, Galapagos, Yellow-
Eyed, African and Humboldt.
Emperor - King - Little Blue - White-flippered (Aptenodytes and Eudyptula)
Rockhopper - Macaroni - Fiordland - Snares Island - Erect Crested - Royal (Eudyptes)
Chinstrap - Gentoo - Adelie - Yellow-Eyed (Pygoscelis and Megadyptes)
Magellanic - Galapagos - African - Humboldt (Spheniscus)
Penguins gather to breed
during the mating season
in rookeries. A rookery can contain several thousands, even
millions of penguins, even of different species, and
come back to the same place generation after generation.
Therefor the area in, and to and from the rookery has paths
made by generations.
The baby penguin is called a chick. The penguin lays two eggs
(except for the Emperor and King which lay one egg),
which are hatched by the father while the mother goes out
to feed. Usually only one egg hatches, or only one chick
survives. The hatchingtime is 33-62 days, depending on
Food and enemies:
Penguins feed on fish,
shrimp, octopus, krill and other
small sea animals.
Natural enemies are sea lions, leopard seals, killer sharks,
sharks and larger birds will snatch the chicks and eggs.
Other threats to the penguin are oil spills, fishing, human
intrusion on penguin areas.
The penguin´s black and white colors helps them to
camouflage in the water.
A penguin usually lives
15 to 20 years.
They molt their feathers in huge patches once a year and
develop new feathers.
Penguins are very social and bound to one partner
their whole life.
Penguins are usually calm and fearless, which makes them
very popular. They can however be aggressive. The Rockhopper
is the most aggressive of the species.
They walk, hop or slide on their stommachs (called
toboggan) on land, and swim very fast and easily,
using their flippers, feet and tail for speed and
Here you can see their sizes, how much they vary from the largest to the smallest penguin.