Happy World Penguin Day!

Happy World Penguin Day! There are 18 species of penguins in the world, so in honor of World Penguin Day, here is a fact for each penguin species.  (If you want to learn facts about penguins in general, check out our World Penguin Day post from last year.)


  • Adélie Penguins breed further south than any other bird in the world.
  • African Penguins use a donkey-like braying sound to communicate, earning them the nickname “Jackass Penguin”.
  • 99% of a Chinstrap Penguin’s diet is Antarctic krill.
Chinstrap Penguin (Image via bioexplorer.net)
  • The largest of all penguins is the Emperor Penguin. Emperors can dive up to 1,850 feet, the deepest of all birds. A single dive can last up to 20 minutes.
  • Erect-crested Penguins are endemic to New Zealand. They have most extreme egg dimorphism of all birds. The second egg of a clutch tends to be around 81% bigger than the first egg.
  • It’s rare to find a Fiordland Penguin during the day. Since they are so timid, they tend to be more active at night.
  • Galápagos Penguins are the only penguins found north of the Equator.
  • Unlike their closest relatives, the Adélies and Chinstraps, Gentoo Penguins typically remain on their breeding grounds year-round.
  • Humboldt Penguins aren’t only black and white, they’re also pink! They have pink patches of bare skin on their face and under their wings to help keep them cool in their warm environment.
Humboldt Penguin (Image via Santa Barbara Zoo, sbzoo.org)
  • King Penguins take 14 to 16 months to fledge a single chick, which is the longest breeding cycle of all birds.
  • Little Penguins are also known as Little Blue or Fairy Penguins. These nocturnal penguins are only 13-15 inches tall.
  • The largest of all crested penguins, Macaroni Penguins spend up to 6 months foraging at sea.
  • Magellanic Penguins are the only off-shore foraging and migratory penguins of the genus Spheniscus. Other penguins in the genus Spheniscus include African, Humboldt, and Galápagos.
  • Not only are Northern Rockhopper Penguins extremely feisty, they are highly social and live in dense colonies.
Northern Rockhopper Penguin By Arjan Haverkamp [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Northern and Southern Rockhopper Penguins used to be considered the same species, but it turns out they are genetically different. Southern Rockhoppers are the smallest of the crested penguins, standing only slightly taller than Little Blues.
  • Royal Penguins are perhaps the most colorful of all the penguins. They have thick orange bills with pink around the base. Their crest is orange, yellow, and black. Yellow feathers can be found above the bill, forehead and eyes. They also have beige claws and light pink feet.
  • Snares Penguins are closely related to Fiordland Penguins. Both species have thick red short bills, but Snares have a pink patch at the base of the bill. They are found on the Snares Islands of New Zealand.
  • Yellow-eyed Penguins are known to the Maori of New Zealand as Hoiho, or “noisy shouter”. They are one of the rarest and most endangered penguins in the world, with estimates of only 4,000 individuals.

This photo of Penguin Place is courtesy of TripAdvisor

What’s your favorite penguin species? Tell me about it in the comments! (My favorite species is the Little Blue 🙂 )

Author: BirdNation

I am an avid birder, teacher, and nature lover. I primarily go birding in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but love to travel. I am currently a biology student with interests in conservation biology, ornithology, and environmental sciences. My dream is to go birding in all 50 states.

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