Their life cycle
Penguins are very unique birds.
They walk awkwardly on land and
they can't fly.
There are seventeen species of
Penguins come in different sizes.
The largest one is the Emperor
Penguin, standing 3 1/2 feet tall (1
meter) and weighing up to 90
pounds (41 kilograms). The smallest
one is the Fairy Penguin, which
stands 16 inches tall (41
centimetres) and weighs only 2.5
pounds (1 kilogram).
Most penguins live in groups (often
known as a "colony" or a "rookery").
Penguins have no biological
defences against germs found
outside of cold Antarctica conditions
and die in large numbers in zoos.
All penguins live in the Southern
Hemisphere (south of the equator).
Penguins do NOT live on the Arctic
(where the North Pole is located at).
Penguins live in such different
climates as Antarctica (where it is
very cold) and the tropics (where it
is very hot).
Penguins usually live on islands or
on remote parts of a continent,
where they are safe from their
Although most penguins can hold
their breath for only a couple of
minutes, penguins spend most of
their lives in the water.
Penguins' bodies are designed to
make them excellent swimmers and
allow them to "fly" underwater.
Their wings are shaped like
paddles, their feet are webbed, and
their bones are solid.
Penguins' feathers are shiny and
Their black and white colouring
(known as "countershading") acts as
camouflage underwater, protecting
them against enemies such as
sharks, leopard seals and killer
Each year, penguins molt (change
feathers) by dropping their old
feathers and growing new ones.
Penguins like to travel over ice and
snow by sliding on their bellies. This
is known as "tobogganing".
Penguins like to line up and dive off
cliffs and ice flows into the water.
Then they hop back onto the land
and dive into the water again and
Penguins also like to surf the waves
to get back to shore.
Penguins eat fish,
Every year, female and male
penguins get together to mate in
inland locations (rookeries).
Penguin mothers lay one or two
eggs in a nest.
The nest can be made of grass, a
circle of stones, or a burrow under
the ground or ice.
The penguin mother and father take
turns incubating the eggs, which
takes between one and two months,
depending on the species.
The chick then chips it way out of
When the chick grows up, it finds a
mate, which it usually keeps for life.