Related topics: birds

Safety signs help little penguin colony

Thanks to Flinders University researchers collaborating with the Department of Environment & Water and Green Adelaide, the creation of the new signs that identifies intrusive human interactions provides timely support for ...

Penguins benefit from extended maritime zone

Gentoo penguins are benefiting from a newly enlarged no-fishing zone (known as a No-Take Zone NTZ) around the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia following British Antarctic Survey (BAS) tracking research commissioned by ...

Gentoo penguins are four species, not one, say scientists

Gentoo penguins should be reclassified as four separate species, say scientists at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, after analysing the genetic and physical differences between populations around ...

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Penguin

Aptenodytes Eudyptes Eudyptula Megadyptes Pygoscelis Spheniscus For prehistoric genera, see Systematics

Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica, where they are most well-known for living. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their life on land and half in the oceans.

Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galápagos Penguin, lives near the equator.

The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri): adults average about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (75 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin (also known as the Fairy Penguin), which stands around 40 cm tall (16 in) and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Among extant penguins, larger penguins inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins are generally found in temperate or even tropical climates (see also Bergmann's Rule). Some prehistoric species attained enormous sizes, becoming as tall or as heavy as an adult human (see below for more). These were not restricted to Antarctic regions; on the contrary, subantarctic regions harboured high diversity, and at least one giant penguin occurred in a region not quite 2,000 km south of the equator 35 mya, in a climate decidedly warmer than today.

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