Where Do Penguins Live?

By Salome Chelangat on October 3 2017 in Environment

A penguin colony is pictured here near Cuverville Island, Antarctica.
A penguin colony is pictured here near Cuverville Island, Antarctica.

What are Penguins?

Penguins are flightless birds with torpedo shape, and they live in the Earth's southern hemisphere (with the exception of the penguins of the Galapagos Islands, which is located very close to the Equator itself). Some penguins are very colorful and come in different sizes, despite the fact that most people think of them as small black and white animals. For instance, crested penguins have yellow feathers while the king and emperor penguins have yellow and orange blushes at their necks.

Classification of penguins

Some species of penguins are the emperor, king, macaroni, southern rockhopper, Snares, royal, yellow-eyed and Galapagos penguins. Penguins belong to Spheniscidae family, division Chordata and Kingdom Animalia. The total number of penguin's species is still debatable, some scientists say that there are seventeen of them with some say eighteen or even nineteen.


Penguins can be found on all continents in the Southern Hemisphere. As they cannot fly, penguins live in remote continental areas and islands where their land predators cannot reach. In addition, because they are marine birds, they have unique adaptations which enables them to live at sea. Usually, penguins live near cold-water currents that are rich in nutrients and can provide enough food supply. Moreover, the various species of these animals can survive in different climates, emperor penguins thriving on the pack ice and waters of Antarctica while Galapagos penguins are found living on tropical islands.

Not all penguins reside in regions with a super cold climate. In fact, the Emperor and Adelie species are the only penguin species living on the Antarctic continent. Other penguins live around New Zealand, Australia, the coastal regions of South America and many parts on the tip of South Africa. Moreover, the warmest penguin home is the Galapagos Islands, located on the equator, a clear proof of the claim that not all penguins live in a super cold climate.

Particular Penguin Adaptations and Behavior

Penguin wings are similar to seal flippers, a feature that helps them to glide through the water. The shape of their feet and wings also enables them to move incredibly fast on land. In fact, they can travel at a speed of eleven to fifteen miles per hour on land. In the icy environment, penguins do not walk but move by tobogganing; rather they use their wings and feet to slide on the ice while flopping on their bellies.

Unlike airborne birds, penguins have dense and heavy bones to help them dive deep for food inside the water. They are carnivores, which feed on squid, krill and the other various fish species found in the water. The yellow-eyed penguin can dive to a depth of over 390 feet several times a day to look for fish. Moreover, penguins move through the water by soaring up and out of water intermittently so that they can take deep breaths before diving again. When they are coming out of the water, penguins behave like human beings as they catch a wave and bodysurf towards the shore.

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