Penguin Details: Species & Habitat


Penguins are torpedo-shaped, flightless birds that reside within the southern areas of the Earth. Although many individuals think about a small, black-and-white animal once they consider penguins, these birds truly are available quite a lot of sizes, and a few are very colourful.

For instance, crested penguins sport a crown of yellow feathers. Blushes of orange and yellow mark the necks of emperor and king penguins. What appear like vivid yellow, bushy eyebrows adorn the heads of some species, such because the Fiordland, royal, Snares and rockhopper penguins. The macaroni penguin’s title comes from the crest of yellow feathers on its head, which appears to be like just like the 18th-century hats of the identical title. A light-weight yellow masks covers the face of the yellow-eyed penguin across the eyes.

An Adélie penguin on Penguin Island, which varieties a part of the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. (Picture credit score: Gemma Clucas)

In response to the Built-in Taxonomic Data System (ITIS), there are 19 species of penguin. (Some specialists, nevertheless, say the japanese rockhopper is a subspecies of the southern rockhopper.) [Gallery: Photos of 18 Penguin Species]

The smallest penguin species is the little (additionally known as little blue) penguin. These birds develop to 10 to 12 inches (25.4 to 30.48 centimeters) tall and weigh solely 2 to three lbs. (0.90 to 1.36 kilograms). The biggest penguin is the emperor penguin. It grows to 36 to 44 inches (91.44 to 111.76 cm) tall and weighs 60 to 90 lbs (27.21 to 40.82 kg).

The place do penguins reside?

Thought-about marine birds, penguins reside as much as 80 p.c of their lives within the ocean, in accordance with the New England Aquarium. All penguins reside within the Southern Hemisphere, although it’s a widespread fable that all of them reside in Antarctica. In reality, penguins will be discovered on each continent within the Southern Hemisphere. It’s also a fable that penguins can solely reside in chilly climates. The Galapagos penguin, for instance, lives on tropical islands on the equator.

What do penguins eat?

Penguins are carnivores; they eat solely meat. Their weight loss program consists of krill (tiny crustaceans), squid and fish. Some species of penguin could make a big dent in an space’s meals provide. For instance, the breeding inhabitants of Adélie penguins (about 2,370,000 pairs) can eat as much as 1.5 million metric tons (1.5 billion kg) of krill, 115,000 metric tons (115 million kg) of fish and three,500 metric tons (3.5 million kg) of squid annually, in accordance with Sea World.

The yellow-eyed penguin could be very tenacious when foraging for meals. It can dive as deep as 120 meters (393.70 toes) as much as 200 instances a day on the lookout for fish, in accordance with the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Belief.

Mating & child penguins

A bunch of penguins is known as a colony, in accordance with the U.S. Geological Survey. Throughout breeding season, penguins come ashore to kind big colonies known as rookeries, in accordance with Sea World.

Most penguins are monogamous. Which means that female and male pairs will mate completely with one another at some point of mating season. In lots of circumstances, the female and male will proceed to mate with one another for many of their lives. For instance, analysis has discovered that chinstrap penguins re-paired with the identical associate 82 p.c of the time and gentoo penguins re-paired 90 p.c of the time.

At round three to eight years previous, a penguin is mature sufficient to mate. Most species breed throughout the spring and summer season. The male normally begins the mating ritual and can select a pleasant nesting web site earlier than he approaches a feminine.

After mating, the feminine emperor or king penguin will lay a single egg. All different species of penguins lay two eggs. The 2 mother and father will take turns holding the eggs between their legs for heat in a nest. The one exception is the emperor penguin. The feminine of this species will place the egg on the male’s toes to maintain heat in his fats folds whereas she goes out and hunts for a number of weeks.

When penguin chicks are able to hatch, they use their beaks to interrupt by the shell of their eggs. This course of can take as much as three days. After the chicks emerge, the mother and father will take turns feeding their offspring with regurgitated meals. Penguin mother and father can determine their offspring by distinctive calls that the chick will make.

Emperor penguins might migrate to seek out new nesting grounds. (Picture credit score: Michelle LaRue)


The taxonomy of penguins, in accordance with ITIS, is:

Kingdom: Animalia Subkingdom: Bilateria Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Infraphylum: Gnathostomata Superclass: Tetrapoda Class: Aves Order: Sphenisciformes Household: Spheniscidae Genera: Aptenodytes, Eudyptes, Eudyptula, Megadyptes, Pygoscelis and Spheniscus Species:

  • Aptenodytes forsteri (emperor penguin)
  • Aptenodytes patagonicus (king penguin)
  • Eudyptes chrysocome (southern rockhopper penguin)
  • Eudyptes chrysolophus (macaroni penguin)
  • Eudyptes filholi (japanese rockhopper penguin; thought of by some to be a subspecies of southern rockhopper)
  • Eudyptes moseleyi (northern rockhopper penguin)
  • Eudyptes pachyrhynchus (Fiordland penguin)
  • Eudyptes robustus (Snares penguin)
  • Eudyptes schlegeli (royal penguin)
  • Eudyptes sclateri (erect-crested penguin)
  • Eudyptula minor (little penguin, additionally known as little blue penguin)
  • Megadyptes antipodes (yellow-eyed penguin)
  • Pygoscelis adeliae (Adélie penguin)
  • Pygoscelis antarcticus (chinstrap penguin)
  • Pygoscelis papua (gentoo penguin)
  • Spheniscus demersus (jackass penguin, additionally known as African penguin)
  • Spheniscus humboldti (Humboldt penguin)
  • Spheniscus magellanicus (Magellanic penguin)
  • Spheniscus mendiculus (Galapagos penguin)

Conservation standing

In response to the Pink Checklist of Threatened Species from the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature, 4 penguin species are endangered: northern rockhopper, erect-crested, yellow-eyed, jackass and Galapagos penguins. A lot of the different species of penguins are listed as susceptible or threatened.

Different information

The chinstrap penguin has a stripe of black that runs from one facet of its head to the opposite. This strip appears to be like like a chinstrap.

The form of all penguins makes them aerodynamic. It’s the excellent form for gliding by the water as they swim.

Most birds have hole bones. Penguins don’t. Their heavier bones counteract the birds’ pure buoyancy, making them very fast swimmers. Penguins can swim as much as 15 mph (24.14 kph) in accordance with the World Wildlife Fund.

Rockhoppers don’t glide on their bellies like different penguins. They as a substitute hop from rock to rock to maneuver throughout land rapidly.

Further sources


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