Two penguins in the wild

7 fun facts about penguins for World Penguin Day



It's World Penguin Day! These adorable birds are loved by people around the world for their quirky behaviours and unique characteristics. To celebrate, let's dive into seven interesting facts about penguins that will make you love them even more.

1. Penguins can't fly, but they're amazing swimmers

Penguins are flightless birds, but they are incredible swimmers. Their wings have evolved into flippers, allowing them to "fly" through the water. Some penguins can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, making them great hunters.

2. Penguins live in the southern hemisphere

Most penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere. While many people think of Antarctica when they hear "penguin," these birds are also found in South America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Each region has its own unique species, with a total of 18 different types of penguins. Traditionally, the number of worldwide penguin species has been listed as 17 but in 2006, this number was changed to 18, when the rockhopper penguin was recognised as two distinct species.

3. Penguins are social birds

Penguins are known for their strong social bonds. They live in large colonies that can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of birds. These colonies help penguins find mates, raise chicks, and protect each other from predators.

A colony of penguins in the wild

4. They have unique ways to stay warm

Despite living in some of the coldest places on Earth, penguins have clever ways to stay warm. They have thick layers of insulating feathers and a layer of fat under their skin. When it's really cold, they huddle together to keep warm. This cute penguin cuddle is not only adorable but also very practical.

5. Penguins are great parents

Penguins are known for being devoted parents. In many species, both the male and female take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the penguin babies. Emperor penguins, for example, are famous for the way the fathers keep the eggs warm by balancing them on their feet and covering them with a flap of skin during the harsh conditions in winter.

6. Penguins have distinct calls

In a colony of thousands of birds, it's important for penguins to be able to recognise each other's voices. Each penguin has a distinct call that helps them find their mate and chicks among the crowd. 

7. Some penguins build nests, others don't

Not all penguins build nests, but some do! Adélie penguins use small rocks to create a circular nest, while gentoo penguins use pebbles and feathers. Emperor penguins however don't build nests at all; they rely on their feet to keep their eggs off the icy ground.

Success for penguins!

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