Penguins – those cuddly and cute birds! Did you know they can clock up to 15 miles an hour while swimming? Did you know you cannot differentiate between a male and a female penguin? There are many such fascinating penguin facts that will leave your jaws dropped. So, if you want some penguin facts to surprise yourself or someone else, why not go ahead and read these 30 facts about penguins?
Fascinating Penguin Facts: 1-5
1. Penguins belong to the flightless birds’ group. It is one of the 40 bird species which lack the ability of aviation. The other birds which are flightless are kiwis, ostriches, rheas, cassowaries etc. most of these types of flightless birds are found in southern hemisphere.
2. Most of the scientists believe that there are 17 species of penguins, out of which 13 are endangered or threatened and some of these 13 are on the verge of extinction.
3. Penguins swallow small pebbles or rocks with their food. Biologists think that these stones help in digesting the food faster and even help these penguins becoming heavier for deep sea diving.
4. These penguins, though flightless, are birds and therefore have no teeth. However, they have spines on the roof of the beak on the inside and on the tongue to have a good grip of the prey.
5. Though penguins look uber cute and our hearts just melt at the sight of a penguin, you should know the fact that they are carnivorous and an adult penguin can catch around 30 fish in just one dive! They eat krills, crabs, shrimps etc.
Fascinating Penguin Facts: 6-10
6. Like cats, they spend a lot of time preening. They continuously preen their feathers to keep them waterproof and sometimes penguins spread oil onto their feathers. From where does this oil come from? A special gland which is present near the tail feathers.
7. Just how snakes shed their skin, the penguins, in the same way, shed their feathers or molt the feathers once in every year. It may take weeks for the new feathers to replace the old and during this they can’t enter the sea as they don’t have their waterproof feathers and due to this, they lose half of their body weight during those few weeks.
8. They can swim anywhere between 5-6 miles an hour but some penguins are reported to swim at speeds of 15 miles an hour. They can walk at a speed between 1.7 to 2.4 miles an hour.
9. The reason behind the penguins swimming so fast is attributed to something called as “bubble boost” by scientists. When the penguins fluff tiny plumages while swimming, bubbles are created and these bubbles help in decreasing the density of the water. These bubbles serve as lubricators which reduces water viscosity. This can be compared to the high-end swimsuits.
10. They can stay underwater for around 10-15 minutes. After 10-15 minutes, they have come to the surface of the water to breathe.
Fascinating Penguin Facts: 11-15
11. They are social birds. They usually swim and hunt in groups and in Antarctica sometimes you can see 20 million penguins.
12. Though these penguins live in cold climate, they maintain a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
13. Penguins are not sexually dimorphic, which means, it is too tough to say which one is male and which one is female.
14. Though they are mostly in water (sea), they have to come to land for laying eggs.
15. The areas where they lay eggs are called nestling areas. Those areas are also known as rookeries”. One rookery may have thousands of pairs of penguins. What is surprising is the fact that each penguin has a unique tone through which they can find their better half and kids.
Fascinating Penguin Facts: 16-20
16. The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) got its name from Ferdinand Magellan who was the one who saw these penguins for the first time in 1520.
17. Maraconi Penguins have the highest population of all the species of penguins. It has around 11,654,000 pairs.
18. Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are the masters in cold temperature. They are the ones who can withstand very low temperatures of all the penguin species. They can live in -40 degrees Celsius and when wind speeds hit 89 mph, they are very much capable of standing tall.
19. When it comes to heaviest birds, Emperor penguins capture the 5th But the male bird loses around 26 pounds of weight when he waits for the chick penguin to hatch.
20. Most of the penguins breed in hot weather climate times (summer and spring) and incubate for around 30-67 days. Emperor penguins however breed in the winters of chilly Antarctic and these are the ones who have longest incubation period.
Fascinating Penguin Facts: 21-25
21. These penguins (emperor penguins) have longest continuous uninterrupted incubation period of all the bird species. The incubation period is around 64-67 days.
22. Penguins are believed to be short-sighted on land whereas they have good eye sight under waters.
23. Emperor penguins produce different voices – more than any other penguin species. Scientists assume the reason behind this is the lack of a nest site for these emperor penguins and hence they should rely on their vocal chords to find their mate and chicks.
24. As the name suggests, Emperor penguins are the largest of penguin species. They can grow as tall as 4 feet or 1.2 m and 45.3 kg or 100 pounds.
25. Next in line comes the King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) which are around 3 feet tall and weighs 35 pounds. They don’t waddle like other penguins and are pretty fast runners in their club (species of penguins).
Fascinating Penguin Facts: 26-30
26. King Penguins are seen to form rookeries which contains up to 10,000 penguins. They (the couples) maintain an exact and close distance from each other.
27. Yellow-eyed Penguins (Megadyptes antipodes) are the third largest of all the penguins. Their eyes resemble that of cats with a yellowish hue. They thrive in the shores of New Zealand and few other islands which are closer to New Zealand.
28. Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) are around 30 inches tall and weigh 13 pounds. The most striking feature of these Gentoo penguins is their orange beak. No other species of penguin has it.
29. Little penguins (Eudyptula minor) are the smallest. They reach a meagre height of 16 inches and weigh around 2 pounds. They prefer to live in warmer climates and are found in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. These are also called as Fairy or Blue penguins.
30. Macaroni penguins’ name is inspired by the colorful (yellow, orange, black) feathers or feather-like structures present on the top of their eyes. They derive their name after the so-called “macaroni dandies” a hairstyle which was a fad in 18th century.