PenguinSpirit

  • There are 17 species of penguins.
  • Penguins are classified as birds; they “fly” underwater. Penguins are the most aquatic of the bird species. Except when rearing their young or molting they live in the sea.
  • All species are in the Southern Hemisphere except the Equatorial Galapagos Penguin.
  • Penguins are sociable and breed in colonies often containing hundreds of thousands of pairs.
  • Penguins swim by flapping their wings underwater not by paddling with their feet.
  • Penguin species are distinguishable mainly by head markings and size.
  • Most birds have lightweight bones and carry air sacs within their body to keep their weight low.
  • Penguins are the opposite with dense, solid bones and no air sacs, to counteract buoyancy and enable them to dive to hunt for food.
  • Penguins do not tolerate warm water and are captive to the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Penguin bodies are streamlined, but when they stop moving their wings while swimming they slow down very quickly.
  • Penguins have developed a method of swimming called porpoising to avoid coming to a halt every time they break the surface to breathe. They swim quickly below the surface and propel themselves out of the water in a low arc, take in a breath, and continue on their way.
  • Penguins have good eye sight and use it to locate their food.
  • Penguins generally feed on prey captured near the surface of the water. The larger species feed mostly on squid while the smaller species feed mostly on krill, with some fish and squid. During the summer months krill is the main food for all species of penguins.
  • Penguins have good hearing, similar to humans. In a rookery they recognize and find each other with vocalizations. Each species has its unique voice.
  • Yellow is an important color to many species of penguins. The yellow feathers appear as the juvenile matures.
  • Penguin feathers:
    • Overlap like tiles on a roof.
    • Are made waterproof by preening which spreads oil on the feathers from a gland at the base of their tail.
    • The oily feathers trap air that helps to keep the penguins warm by preventing heat loss.
    • Feathers account for approximately 80% of the penguins’ insulation while blubber accounts for the other 20%.
    • New feathers grow under the older ones and slowly push the older worn feathers out, but old feathers do not fall until wholly replaced so helping keep the penguin warm.
  • Penguins have strong feet with large well developed claws that enable them to climb on ice and rocks.
  • Penguins have a high body temperature, approximately 38C (101F) as well as a high metabolic rate. This enables them to survive in the harsh Antarctica climate.

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