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Penguins are aquatic, flightless birds that are highly adapted alive in the water. Their distinct tuxedo-like appearance is called countershading, a form of camouflage in order to keep them safe in the water. Penguins do have wing-bones, though they are flipper-like and extremely suitable for swimming. Penguins are found almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, where they capture their food underwater and raise their young on land.
Favorites: Krill, fish and squid.
In general, penguins closer to the equator eat much more fish and penguins closer to Antarctica eat more squid and krill.
The penguin species with the highest population is the Macaroni penguin with eleven, 654, 000 pairs. The species with the lowest population is the endangered Galapagos penguin with between 6, 000-15, 000 individuals.
Penguins can be found in each continent in the Southern Hemisphere from the tropical Galapagos Islands (the Galapagos penguin) located near South America to Antarctica (the emperor penguin).
Penguins may spend up to 75% of their lives in the water. They do all of their hunting in the drinking water. Their prey can be found within 60 feet of the surface, so penguins do not have to swim in deep water. They catch prey in their beaks as well as swallow them whole as they swim. Some species only leave the water with regard to molting and breeding.
Penguins are social birds. Many species feed, go swimming and nest in groups. During the breeding season, some species form big groups, or “rookeries”, that include thousands of penguins. Each penguin has a distinct contact, allowing individuals to find their mate and their chicks even in large groups.
Mating Season: Varies depending on the species, though most breed during spring and also summer.
Incubation: Varies from 1 month-66 days depending on the species.
Number of children: King and emperor penguins lay one egg. All other species of penguin place two eggs.