If there was a bird in this world to have its own day, its the dapper-looking, deep-diving penguin. Penguins spend 75% of their lives at sea. When is world penguin day? Every year on April 25th is World Penguin Day – a day for the northward penguin migration.
They are magnificent creatures that have survived harsh conditions for centuries – extreme weather conditions, increased seafood competition, and predatory activities. To celebrate national penguin day, we have put together this list of 10 facts about some of the penguins of the world. They truly deserve this National penguin awareness day so why not have a penguin holiday and enjoy it.
They shouldn’t be forgotten about on any other day of the year so make every day a penguin appreciation day.
Alarmingly, it’s believed that there are 17 species of penguins and over 70% are either endangered or on the brink of extinction so penguin conservation is vital. Scientists claim that the population of the prehistoric penguins started reducing when the number of prehistoric whales and seals started increasing in the oceans.
10 Facts for World Penguin Day
1. Size Isn’t Everything
Okay, well maybe when it comes to being a penguin – bigger is better. Did you know that an average adult weighs approximately 23kg and continues to put on weight throughout the year.
Emperors are the biggest species of this bird; they weigh 35kg and can grow up to an average of 1.1m in height. Conversely, the Rockhopper is the smallest penguin, which only averages 12 inches.
2. They Huddle To Keep Warm
These beautiful creatures stay warm by surrounding themselves, known as huddling. This way, they don’t have to absorb all of the cold air all by themselves. They take turns standing tall.
Also, the males will huddle together to stay warm when they take care of the eggs. This technique allows them to maintain a high body temperature needed to incubate the eggs.
3. Down Feathers
Unlike normal birds, their feathers are very different. These feathers are extremely short and wooly. The outer feathers covered with a layer of oil to make them more water-resistant.
4. They are Devoted Parents
Couples stay together to raise their young ones; the fathers are very involved in the process from laying and hatching of the eggs to prepping the chicks.
When a female lays eggs, she goes out for 14 days to arrange food for the newborns, leaving the male to take care of everything. The fathers use this period to stack some food and store them under their warm feathers. Dad and mom will take turns searching for food and warming the egg.
5. They are Great Swimmers
Regarded as flightless birds due to their inability to fly. Although not being able to fly may limit them from touching the sky, they make up for that in the fact that they are known to be impressive swimmers averaging between 11 – 15 mph.
They love to dive and play very deep underwater, and, amazingly, they can hold their breath for several minutes underwater.
6. They Don’t Just Live in Antarctica
According to researchers, they are widely spread across Antarctica, South America, New Zealand, Australia, and other cold regions. It is important to note that not all live in the cold. Many live in warmer coastlines while only 2 out of 17 species exist live in Antarctica.
Several species are found in the temperate zone, only the Galápagos penguin lives near the equator. They spend their entire lives living and playing on the cold waters and also feeding on sea creatures found underwater.
7. They Use Sign Language
These wonderful creatures are also known to use sign language to communicate with each other. They move their heads and wave their flippers as a way to communicate with each other in the group.
For example, African penguins communicate feelings such as hunger, anger, and loneliness through six different and distinctive vocal calls. According to scientists who have observed the African penguins’ behavior in captivity.
8. Couples Live Together
When a male and female bond they create a nest close to the shore where they start life as together as a couple. Penguins actually shout their love for each other by screaming it out loud.
They aren’t shy about expressing their love for their mate. Saying “I love you” is just a normal part of their day, and the cute thing is they are willing to express their sentiments often. We humans could learn to do a better job of this. We could definitely learn some love lessons from penguins.
9. One Nesting Area For All
Just like us humans, they live in towns and villages called rookeries, a place where thousands of pairs of birds nest. Each chick has a unique voice that allows parents to easily recognize them even in the midst of a large crowd.
Being in these large groups makes it easier to protect each other from large predators and from the cold weather. Being so close to the shore also means that they have a short commute to work finding food.
10. Penguins Have Knees
And last but not least, it’s true. They have knees underneath their feathers. They are a bony set of knees which may be difficult to see. This hidden feature is beneficial to them when on ice/land as it helps them to slide on their belly easily.
There you go – ten facts about penguins. We hope you enjoyed it, happy World Penguin Day!