Penguins are aquatic birds which do not fly. They generally live in the Southern hemisphere, in particular in Antarctica. All penguins are characterized by black and white feathers, or plumage.
The Emperor penguin is the largest of penguins and can be as tall as 4 ft and weigh as much as 48-98 pounds. The back side and the head of these penguins is black, their belly white and their breast and ears, bright yellow. They adapt to the cold weather better than other penguins, with their feathers providing excellent insulation. Emperor penguins are the only penguins in the Antarctic that breed in the winter and they sometimes travel as far as 75 miles to find a breeding colony.
Upon diving into deep water, the Emperor penguin encounters pressure about 40 times that at the water’s surface. Yet their bones allow them to do so without the risk of trauma. At this depth their oxygen levels go way down as does their heart rate, but they are able to do so without losing consciousness, and can adapt really well.
The gentoo penguin can be recognized for its wide white stripe which extends across its head. The adult gentoo is the third largest penguin after the Emperor and King species. The males generally weigh around 18 pounds, the females around 10. The Gentoos generally mate in the Falkand Islands and Heard Islands, and other places which are considered to be a sub-Antarctic island.
The Macaroni penguin is one of the crested penguins. They are found from the sub-Anarctic to the Antarctic. They are closely related to the Royal penguin. These penguins can have a yellow or orange crest on their heads and are black and white elsewhere, with a distinct separation between the colors. They are generally a little over 2 feet tall and weight between 7 and 15 pounds. A very social animal, the macaroni penguin has one of the largest breeding grounds of penguins.
African penguins are found on the southwestern coast of Africa. These penguins are also called black-footed penguins. These penguins can be around 2 feet tall and weigh approximately 4 to 11 pounds. They have black stripes, black spots on their chest and a little pink above their eyes. They breed all year long, usually starting in February. They are the only penguins that breed in Africa and Africa is the only place they are found.
Royal penguins are found in the waters of Antarctica. They are similar in look to the Macaroni penguins, but their chins are white. These penguins are also members of the crested penguins. They breed only on Macquarie Island and spend a great deal of time at sea.There is some thought that the Royal Penguin may be a sub species of the Macaroni penguin given their similarities.
The King Penguin is the second largest penguin, after the Emperor penguin. These penguins breed on the sub-Antarctic islands and northern Antarctica. They are around 3 ft tall and weigh between 24-35 pounds. These penguins are black, have white bellies and are yellow on their beak and ears.
An unusual looking penguin is the Chinstrap penguin. These penguins are found in the South Sandwich Islands, Antarctica and the South Orkneys. Their name comes from a narrow band of black which goes in their chin area, making it look like they are wearing a helmet. Chinstrap penguins grow to about 27 inches tall and weigh around 6-13 pounds.
Because penguins have no land predators, they do not shy away from humans when they see them. They all have thick insulating layers of feathers to keep them warm.They eat krill, fish, squid and other sealife they find in the water and spend one half of their time on land and one half in the water.