Penguins

There are seventeen kinds of penguins in the world. They are all alike in some ways and all cannot fly. All have dark backs and white fronts and live in the Southern Hemisphere near the sea.

They differ in several ways. They can be as small as 16 inches or as tall as 4 feet. They differ in the exact location they inhabit. Some live in the frigid climate of Antarctica. Others can live along the coast of forested land. Galapagos penguins live three thousand miles north of Antarctica in a tropical climate at the equator. All penguins live at or south of the equator.

Some penguins are known for yellow or orange feathers on their heads. Some have a single or double black band across their upper chest. Brush-tailed penguins have tails that are longer than any other. The emperor and the king are called the giant penguins. The little blue and the yellow-eyed are isolated types of penguins not related to any other. Sometimes penguins are named by what they look like. Sometimes they are named based on where they live.

Penguins have torpedo-shaped bodies, long and slim. They can move quickly and gracefully through the sea. Their short wings and flippers move up and down swiftly. They steer with their tails and feet. Penguins have solid bones. This helps them dive. They can leap out of the water. They can travel twenty-five miles an hour for short distances. Some types of penguins may live in one area in summer and travel a good distance for the winter. The biggest penguins are the fastest swimmers and best divers. Emperors can dive as much as fifteen hundred feet below the surface of the ocean for prey, though food is much closer to them.

Penguins feed on fish, squid and krill. They have no teeth. Their tongues and roofs of their mouths are covered with stiff spines which keep slippery prey inside. A penguin comes up from below to strike a school of fish. In a few minutes a penguin can catch and eat a hundred small fish or krill.

Wherever penguins swim, the water is cold. Their coat of small, scale-like feathers protects them from the cold. Penguins can groom themselves by taking oil from a gland at the base of their tails. With their beaks they spread this oil all over their feathers. This is their way of waterproofing their bodies. A layer of stored fat under their skin also keeps them warm. It gives them extra energy when needed too. In warmer climates penguins may have bare skin on their faces to stay cooler.

Penguins could live all year in the sea but they must come ashore to mate and raise their babies. Most nests are made by the male. Both parents help raise the babies. In warm climates penguins must protect the eggs from the heat. Nests can be placed in crevices and caves along the shore. Penguins in colder climates build nests on top of soil or rocks out of pebbles. They are above ground to avoid being flooded by melting ice.

In spring more than a million king penguins raise their young on South Georgia Island in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean. The male and female take turns holding a single egg on top of their feet. They keep it warm by holding it up to a special warm area of their belly skin called the brood patch. The other parent goes off to hunt for food.

In summary, all seventeen types of penguins in the world are alike in some ways. They are all flightless birds. They have dark backs and white fronts and live near the sea in the Southern Hemisphere.




A: Fifteen
B: Six
C: Sixty
D: Seventeen

A: King and emperor
B: Brush-tailed and emperor
C: Galapagos and king
D: None of the above

A: All penguins have black bands across their chests.
B: All penguins live in Antarctica.
C: All penguins are about 2 feet tall.
D: All penguins cannot fly.

A: To protect their eyes from bright light
B: To waterproof their feathers
C: To keep their feet tough
D: To keep their beaks sharp

A: Penguins have sharp teeth.
B: Penguins feed on fish and squid.
C: Penguins can travel twenty-five miles per hour.
D: Emperor and king penguins can dive the deepest.

A: They bury it in the sand.
B: The female sits on it for three weeks.
C: The male and female use a brood patch to keep the egg warm.
D: The parents leave the egg alone while they go off to hunt for food.








Related Topics
Penguin Facts
Penguin Families - Online Games
Adélie penguin Facts
African penguin Facts
Emperor Penguin Quiz
Number Chart Place Value Game : Penguin Tens and Ones Game
Puffin vs. Penguin
Antarctica Facts

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