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. Every year on April 25th is World Penguin Day – a day for the northward migration of penguins.
Penguins are magnificent creatures that have survived harsh conditions for centuries – extreme weather conditions, increased seafood competition, and predatory activities. To celebrate world penguin day, we have put together this list of 10 facts about penguins.
Penguins shouldn’t be forgotten about on any other day of the year. Alarmingly, it’s believed that there are 17 species of penguins and over 70% are either endangered or on the brink of extinction. 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 about Penguins 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 penguin weighs approximately 23kg and continues to put on weight through the year.
Emperor Penguins 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 penguin is the smallest penguin, which only averages 12 inches.
2. Penguins Huddle To Keep Warm
Penguins 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, male penguins 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, the feathers on a penguin 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. Penguins are Devoted Parents
Penguin couple stays 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 penguin lays eggs, she goes out for 14 days to arrange food for the newborns, leaving the father penguin to take care of everything. The father penguins 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. Penguins are Great Swimmers
Penguins are regarded as flightless birds due to their inability to fly. Though, not being able to fly limit penguins from touching the sky, they are, however, known to be impressive swimmers averaging between 11 – 15 mph.
Penguins are great swimmers, they actually love to dive and play very deep underwater. Amazingly, they can hold their breath for several minutes underwater.
6. Penguins Don’t just Live in Antartica
According to researchers, penguins are widely spread across Antarctica, South America, New Zealand, Australia, and other cold regions. It is important to note that not all penguins live in the cold. Many live in warmer coastline 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. Penguins spend their entire lives living and playing on the cold waters, and also feeding on sea creatures found underwater.
7. Penguins Use Sign Language
Penguins are known to use sign language to communicate with each other. Penguins move their heads and wave their flippers as a sort of sign language 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 penguin 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.
Penguins 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, penguins live in towns and villages called rookeries, a place where thousands of pairs of birds nest. Each penguin chick has a unique voice which allows parent penguins to easily recognize them even in the midst of a large crowd.
Being in these large groups of penguins makes it easier to protect each other from large predators and from the cold weather. Being so close to the shore means that these penguins have a short commute to work finding food.
10. Penguins Have Knees
And last but not least, it’s true. Penguins have knees underneath their feathers. They are a bony set of knees which may be difficult to see. This hidden feature is beneficial to penguins on ice/land as it helps them to slide on their belly easily.
So there you have it. There you go – ten facts about penguins. Hope you enjoyed it, happy World Penguin Day!