Penguins- the flightless birds


The penguin are flightless birds that have adapted for the coldest environments and a dirt of fish and krill. Not all penguins can be found in Antarctica but most can be found in the northern hemisphere then in the Southern Hemisphere. Although there are a few penguins that make their habitat down south like the Galápagos penguin they live right next to the equator. You might think that the penguins wings are useless but you would be wrong. The penguins use their small wings to swim and flow in the water. In the water they hunt down many animals to eat. There’s so many different kinds of penguins like the African penguin and Humboldt penguins.


African penguins

Scientific name: Spheniscus demersus

Photo credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/8xqjDK7AE3Zu4kQ5A


The African penguin can be found in South Africa in the southwestern rocky coast the largest colony ever found was on dyer island. Many of the penguins make nests out of feces called guano and they can be found on rocks or under bushes. The shelter helps the eggs not be harmed by the African sun. Their small and agile wings allow them to hunt down small fish like sardines and anchovies and sometimes squid and crustaceans. The penguins can eat 1 pound of food each day. The lifespan of a penguin is around 10 to 15 years and they can hay up to 2 eggs. These penguins are one of the smallest of their kind, their height can reach up to 27 inches and can weigh up to 11 pounds. An interesting fact about them is underneath their wings are dotted marks that help identify individual penguins from each other. They are sadly endangered.


Chinstrap penguin

Scientific name: Pygoscelis antarcticus

Photo credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/QNcdiCZMLDr62zH48


The chinstrap penguin or the bearded penguin can be found in large colonies in the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula and several Antarctic and subantarctic islands. The colonies can also be found in the Antarctic Peninsula and on the Balleny Islands between Antarctica. Their life span can be around 20 years. Like the African penguins the chinstrap they are also very small they can reach heights up to 30 inches and weigh 13 pounds. Krill is their most consumed prey but fish and crustaceans are also eaten. One of their most deadly predators is the leopard seal but in land their eggs are at danger their land predators are the sheathbills. They can lay up to 2 eggs in late November and early December then later in early January the grey chicks hatch. Unlike the African penguins these penguins are abundant and populist.


Fun facts:

  1. Penguins can drink sea water.

  2. Emperor Penguins can stay underwater for around 20 minutes at a time.

  3. Most penguins swim underwater at around four to seven miles per hour (mph), but the fastest penguin—the gentoo (Pygoscelis papua)—can reach top speeds of 22 mph!

  4. The earliest known penguin fossil was found in 61.6 million-year old Antarctic rock, about 4-5 million years after the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs

  5. Climate change will likely affect different penguin species differently—but in the Antarctic, it appears that the loss of krill.




African penguin sources : https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/african-penguin

Chinstrap penguin sources: https://www.britannica.com/animal/chinstrap-penguin



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