Penguin Facts



  • There are around 17 different species of penguin, most of them living in colonies called rookeries along thee coast of Antarctica and nearby islands.
  • Penguins are superb swimmers, using their wings as flippers to push them through the water, and steering with their webbed feet.
  • Penguins have coats waterproofed with oil and thick fat so they can survive in temperatures as low as -60°C.
  • The smallest is the fairy penguin, at 40 cm high.
  • The emperor penguin is the biggest swimming bird, at up to 1.2 m tall and weighing over 40 kg – twice the weight of any flying bird.
  • Penguins are sociable birds that live in large colonies.
  • Emperor penguins can dive briefly to depths of 250 m or more chasing fish, their main diet.
  • Penguins can leap high out of the water to land on an ice bank, but on land they can only waddle clumsily or toboggan along on their bellies.
  • Addle penguins waddle more than 320 km across the ice every year to reach their breeding ground.
  • When crossing the ice, Adelie penguins use the sun to navigate by. When the sun goes down they lose their way.
  • The largest penguin at 1.2 m tall, the emperor penguin also weighs in as the heaviest seabird. Each male holds his partner’s single egg on his feet for some 60 days until the chick hatches.
  • The male emperor penguin keeps the female’s egg warm on his feet until it hatches.