Penguins tend to be popular birds with children because of the way they waddle! We've made sure we've got lots of penguin activities at Activity Village because they are an interesting bird to study, and are often these days associated with winter themes and Christmas.
Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere. Over millions of years, a penguin's wings have evolved to work as flippers to help them swim.
The largest penguin is the Emperor Penguin, pictured in our photo, weighing up to 90 pounds, whilst the smallest penguin, the Fairy Penguin, weighs only 2 pounds!
Penguins mainly eat fish, and they'll also eat a variety of seafood such as squid, crustaceans and small shrimp-like animals called krill.
There are 18 different species of penguin found in varying climates, ranging from Galápagos penguins on tropical islands at the equator to Emperor penguins living at the icy waters of Antarctica. The Emperor penguin lives in the coldest habitat of all penguins, with some Antarctic zones reaching a temperature as cold as -40º or -60º C. Regardless of their habitat, all penguins keep a body temperature of between 38º and 39ºC.
Some species of penguins spend of several months of the year in the ocean and only use icebergs as places to rest and mate.
Emperor penguins and King penguins only lay one egg, and all other penguin species lay two eggs. With the exception of Emperor penguins, partners take turns incubating eggs. Female Emperor penguins transfer a single egg to the top of her mate's feet then goes to sea to feed while the male incubates the egg.
Some Interesting Facts...
- Penguins can swim faster, and dive deeper, than any other bird. The fastest species of penguin is the gentoo penguin, which can swim at up to 22mph.
- In some species of Penguin, when a male courts a female, it usually offers rocks as a gift!
- The name penguin was originally given to the now-extinct great auk, which was a large, flightless, black and white bird.
- Penguin droppings (known as guano) can vary in colour depending on what they eat. Eating fish results in white guano, and eating krill turns it pink!
- Penguins can cope with drinking salt water because they have special glands that drain the liquid out of the nose and expel salt.