Water’s Fine! - Penguins spend nearly 75% of their
life in the water hunting for food.
All Ears. - While penguins don’t have visible ears,
they do have very good hearing. An ear canal under their
feathers allows these birds to hear on land and under water.
Hearing is very important to penguins so they can zero in
on their mates or chicks within a colony that could have
80,000 or more birds.
Can Call Me Sweetheart. - Many penguin species are monogamous
and may stay with the same mate for several breeding seasons.
And penguins make very good parents. Both the male and female
care for eggs and chicks.
For Success. - Penguins have a black and white tuxedo look
for protection. From above, their black back blends in with
the dark waters below. From underwater looking up, a penguin’s
white belly tends to match the lighter sky.
Plump. - Most penguins are a bit on the chubby side for
good reason. Their fat layer insulates them from the cold
and provides an energy reserve when food is scarce.
Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - When Adelie penguins hop off the
ice and into the ocean, they accelerate from 0 to 16 mph
in less than one second. That’s important to avoid
leopard seals that swim at an average speed of 4 mph.
- The color intensity of a macaroni penguin’s yellow
feathers, its red eyes and beak help attract a mate. More
vivid yellows and reds tend to indicate a bird’s overall
health and disease resistance.
Me. - All 17 penguin species are remarkable divers without
scuba tanks. Emperor penguins are the champion at holding
their breath. They can stay under water for up to 15 minutes.
don’t just waddle. - On land, penguins waddle, hop,
and slide around on their bellies. They also have three
ways to move through water: they swim near the surface;
they “fly” underwater; and they sometimes swim
along repeatedly popping out of the water like dolphins.
You Spare A Bite? – Gentoo chicks beg their parents
for food by pecking on their beaks and making a special
sound. The parent then opens up and regurgitates food into
the chick’s mouth.
she happy? - The Adelie penguin was discovered by French
Explorer Julies-Sebastien-Cesar Dumont d’ Urville
when he visited the Antarctic in 1840. He named the penguin
after his wife Adelie. No word on whether or not she approved.
Mom? – Rockhopper males stay on land with their chicks
while the females go out fishing. Female rockhopper penguins
will spend almost all day gathering food making an average
of 44 dives an hour.
This! – Archaeologists have uncovered fossilized penguins
that date back 58 to 62 million years ago. That means somehow
penguin ancestors survived after the mass extinction of
the dinosaurs. The largest penguin fossils were as large
as a human.
Divers. – Several species of penguins routinely dive
to depths between 300 and 500 feet. Scientists attached
recording instruments on an Emperor penguin that once dove
to an incredible depth of 1800 feet!
Choppers? – Penguins don’t have any teeth, but
they do have barbs on their tongue and throat. These barbs
point backwards helping penguins swallow slippery fish,
squid and krill.
Play Charades. – Penguins are very loud birds, calling
to each other frequently throughout the day. Watch closely
and you’ll also see a lot of body language. Penguins
communicate by dipping their heads down and bobbing them
back up as their flippers flap at one another.
Torpedoes. – All penguins are built for speed under
water. They are very streamlined with strong flippers that
can propel them through the water with ease. Some species
are capable of short bursts of greater than 20 mph and can
maintain speeds of 9 mph. They use bursts of speed to launch
themselves onto steep rocky shorelines or icebergs.
To Chill Out. – Galapagos penguins live right on the
Equator in a very tropical climate. To keep cool they hold
their flippers out. This allows heat to escape their bodies.
It also shades their feet, helping them to avoid sunburn.