Penguins are birds that live in the coldest regions of the world. They are known for their stocky appearance and look as if they are wearing tuxedos thanks to their colors and markings. They move from place to place by waddling across the ice with their wings out to the side. Unlike many other birds, penguins cannot fly, though their bodies are built for swimming and dealing with the cold weather they live in.
Types and Descriptions
Emperor penguins are black and white with a tinge of yellow. They are the largest penguin, as they can approach 85 lbs. Adelie penguins are much smaller and exclusively black and white with white around the eyes. King penguins look a lot like emperor penguins, though they are about half the size. Rockhopper penguins are very small and feature crests on top of their heads. Galapagos penguins are only about 5 lbs. and feature black spots on their white bodies. The black-footed penguin features a long, curved beak and white stripes on a black body.
Diet and Predators
Penguins need to be good swimmers in large part because of what and where they eat. All penguins make meals out of fish and other small aquatic life. Sometimes they must pursue their prey actively in the water. Penguins in Antarctica must watch out for seals, which often eat penguins. Black-footed penguins in Africa must also guard over their eggs carefully, as animals and humans alike eat them.
Environment and Survival
Black-footed penguins reside on the coast of Africa, while the Galapagos penguins live on the Galapagos Islands. All other penguin species reside on the frigid continent of Antarctica. Penguins thrive in this type of environment because their bodies are coated in a layer of blubber that helps them to survive and make the most of their surroundings. Their swimming abilities suit them to regions near water, and they are often good at sliding on their backs across the ice to conserve energy when traveling or hunting.
Mating and Nesting
Penguins typically mate at specific times year-round that depend on the species of penguin. Like other birds, their babies hatch out of eggs. Also like other birds, many penguins create their own nests for their young. Larger penguins, such as the emperor and king species, do not require a nest. Penguins feed their young by regurgitating food into their mouths. Both penguin parents are present for raising the babies.
- Photo Credit flock of penguins image by Daniel Gillies from Fotolia.com
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