Sanjana Kakanur Period 8 5/16/16

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Penguins spend most of their time in the ocean or sea. They only come on the land to build nests and raise their babies. Wild penguins live South of the equator, some live on islands near New Zealand and Australia. Others live on the coasts of South America, South Africa, and far South in the freezing waters of Antarctica. Penguins usually live in large groups called colonies. (World Book Advanced).

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Penguins swim with momentum and elegance, their “wings” are used as flippers rather than for flying, this makes them significant divers. Their long bullet-shaped bodies help them glide quickly through the water easily. This can be described as “flying” underwater. ( Mix of : Penguins, by: Lucia Raatma & World Book Advanced).To steer themselves underwater they use their feet and tail. They can swim up to 10 miles (16 kilometers) per hour for long periods of time. They can swim as fast as 25 miles (40 kilometers)- Penguins, by: Lucia Raatma. Since penguins can’t breathe underwater, they leap in and out of the water when swimming under the surface, which is called porpoising. ( Penguins, by: Lucia Raatma). When they do decide to come out on land they waddle upright on short legs and flat feet. They can walk almost as fast as a human would. ( World Book Advanced). Not only can they dive, swim, and walk, but they can also toboggan and climb. Penguins can’t always walk long distances easily, so in some cases they decide to slide across the ice on their stomachs, which is known as tobogganing. During this process of transportation penguins use their wings and feet to move. They also climb rocky slopes by hopping from rock to rock. (World Book Advanced).

Body Covering

Penguins are covered in tiny feathers that act as a thick waterproof coat. The color of their feathers are usually black or bluish gray, their underside is white in color. Some penguins have yellow or orange feathers on their head, neck, or breast. Certain species have a plume on their head. The color of their beak can be black, red, bright purple, or orange. The coloring of their feet can be black, pink, or even pink on the top and black on the bottom.( World Book Advanced). Since penguins are classified as birds they are considered vertebrates. ( Gale Research in Context).


Penguins eat fish, crabs, squid (crustaceans), krill, and other small shrimplike animals. Since penguins have amazing eyesight they are able to see and catch prey in deep, dark water. ( Mix of World Book Kids and Advanced). Baby penguins eat the food that is given to them by their parents, when they are old enough they will hunt for the same food by themselves. (World Book Advanced).

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Penguins lay their eggs and raise their babies on land instead of water. They build their nests in big gatherings known as colonies. The penguins make their nests by digging burrows under large rocks or bushes and make them out of pebbles. A penguin pair will usually breed together every year for many years. The females will lay one to two eggs on average. The eggs take 30 to 65 days to hatch, the larger the egg the longer it takes. When the eggs do hatch they are kept incubated or kept at body temperature. The male and female will take turns for finding food and caring for their young, while the other parent is gone the guardian cannot eat, which in some cases can be more than a week. During this time a penguin can lose up to 75 lb (33.8 kg). ( Gale Research in Context). When the babies need a LOT of food, both parents have to go to sea to hunt for food. The chick will join a crèche or close group of chicks for 2-12 months. A young penguin usually is covered in downy feathers that eventually will be replaced with mature feathers. The parents feed the chicks partially digested food. When the chicks are old enough, they leave the colony and learn to live & eat on their own in the sea. Most chicks will decide to settle down close to their birthplace, and others choose to move very far away. But they always find a way to make it back home. ( World Book Advanced).

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Penguins are eaten by seals, sea lions, killer whales, sea leopards, and other animals. Oil pollution is another deadly threat to the waters that the penguins live in. When penguins clean their feathers in the oil polluted waters they end up swallowing the oil which is basically poisoning them. Human activities also tend to disrupt the penguins’ lives. Whenever humans visit the penguins in their wild, natural habitat they cause the penguins to abandon their nests in fear potentially leaving their chicks left alone to fend for themselves. Another human activity that bothers penguins is fishing, by fishing the penguins are limited to food sources and have a harder time finding food. ( World Book Advanced).

Other Info

King & Emperor penguins don’t build nests, instead their young and eggs are kept in a warm fold under their belly that holds them on the top of their feet. Wild penguins have a lifespan of about 20 years. But zoo penguins can live more than 30 years. The penguin family belongs to a group called Spheniscidae.

Types of Penguins & Scientific Names

  • Emperor Penguin= Aptenodytes

  • King Penguin= patagonicus

  • Little Penguin = Eudyptula

  • Galapagos Penguins = Spheniscus mendiculus

( World Book Advanced)

Heights of Different Types of Penguins

  • King Penguin = about 3.5 feet (1 meter)

  • Yellow-eyed Penguin = about 30 inches (76 cm)

  • Gentoo Penguin = about 24-30 inches ( 60 to 76 cm)

  • Adélie Penguin = 18 to 24 inches ( 45 to 60 cm)

  • Chinstrap Penguin = 18 to 24 inches

  • Little Blue Penguin = 12 inches ( 30 cm).

    ( Penguins - by Lucia Raatma)

Works Cited

“Penguin.” Gale Research in Context. New York: Columbia UP, 2016. N. pag. Gale Research in Context. Web. 14 May 2016. <>.

“Penguin.” World Book Online. Chicago: World Book, 2016. N. pag. World Book Kids. Web. 9 May 2016. <>.

“Penguins-World.” Penguins-World. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

Raatma, Lucia. Penguins. Ed. Russel E. Primm. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 2001. Print.

“Sheppard Software.” Sheppard Software. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2016. <>.

Wienecke, Barbara. “Penguin.” World Book Online. Chicago: World Book, 2016. N. pag. World Book Advanced. Web. 9 May 2016. <>.