Penguins are...

Penguins are a type of bird. They are members of the bird family because they are warm-blooded, lay eggs and have feathers. The weird thing is that, instead of wings, penguins have flippers. With their flippers, they swim, so, therefore, they do not fly.

Penguins have long, flat flippers that help them dive and catch their prey. Penguins eat krill, fish and squid. They have very short legs that are on the back of their body. Penguins stand upright and waddle side to side while they walk.


Penguins are amazing at swimming. When they dive and swim, they use their sleek flippers to fly through the water. Usually, penguins can dive extremely deep - they can hold their breath for many minutes. Their large round eyes help them to see in the dark water. Penguins can swim up to hundreds of miles just in search of delicious prey.

Penguins are covered in waterproof feathers. Their feathers are stiff, short and grow close together. Penguins have a thick layer of blubber or fat under their skin. The blubber (fat) keeps them warm from the cold snow including the icy waters that they walk and swim in.

Safety and Dangers

Penguins have a black back and a white stomach. You may think, "What's so good about black and white?" Well, the amazing thing about these colors, is that, when a penguin is in the water, floating on its stomach, the predators (leopard seals or killer whales) can not see the penguin. You see, when the predator looks through the water, it can't see the penguin because the light shining through the water makes everything look white. A penguin's black back is good for safety, too. When a penguin floats in the water, its black black is hard to see in the water because the water looks black. The black color on the back and head helps the penguin soak in the warmth from the burning sun.

Penguins have several predators. These predators include the large sea birds like the skuas, gulls, sheathbills, and petrels. These immense birds will steal eggs, as well as chicks that are not guarded properly. There are many dangers in the water for penguins. They are often attacked by sea leopords, killer whales, fur seals, sea lions, and sharks. The leopard seal is the greatest threat to penguins of all kinds. It hides and waits in the water just under the ice. Suddenly catcing the penguins when they jump in to hunt for food. The penguins are an important part of the food chain in the leapord seal's habitat, sadly. On land there are many different types of predstors like ferrets, cats, snakes, lizards, foxes and rats.


Penguins lay eggs and they each have their own mating habits. Some colonies have one million mating pairs. Different species have different mating habits. Once two peguins have found each other, they will mate. Soon after one or two eggs are laid, the eggs are cared by both parents in some type of nest. These nests are made out of rocks, pebbles, sticks, mud or anything that they can find. It takes from 30 to 60 days for the eggs to hatch, depending on which kind of penguin it is. After the chick(s) has been raised, the male and female seperate (break up). But often, they will return to the same breeding ground and mate year after year.


Penguin chicks are covered with down. Down is a thick layer of warm fuzzy, brown feathers. Down keeps them very warm. The male and female both care for the chicks by bringing back food to them from their stomachs. They force the food up their stomachs and place it in the chicks' mouth. This is like throwing up, then giving your throw-up to someone. Even though two eggs are hatched, usually, only one chick will survive. Once the chicks are two to three weeks old, they will gather together in groups called a creche. While the chicks are waiting for their parents to come back for food, the chicks huddle together for warmth. When the parents return, they will call to their chicks; the chicks will recognize their sound and go to them.