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Description of Penguin

Penguins are flightless marine birds that dwell only in the southern hemisphere. They do not inhabit the Arctic, where polar bears live. There are seventeen generally recognized species of penguins. Six species, the Adelie, gentoo, chinstrap, rockhopper, king, and emperor penguins, live in the cold environments of the Antarctic region. The rest live in subantarctic and temperate regions. The macaroni, fiordland, Snares, erectcrested, yellow-eyed, fairy, and royal penguins live off the coasts of New Zealand and Australia and nearby islands. The Magellanic and Humboldt penguins live off the coast of South America. The African penguin lives off the southern coast of Africa, and the GalГЎpagos penguin is native to the GalГЎpagos Islands. Penguins spend much of their lives in the ocean, coming to shore mainly to breed.

Physical Characteristics

All penguins are black with white undersides, and are commonly described as wearing tuxedos. This color pattern acts as camouflage when the penguin is swimming, protecting it from predators. From underneath, the white belly blends with the bright water surface, and fromabove, the black back is indistinguishable from the dark water. Penguin species can be grouped according to common characteristics. Banded penguins have black and white stripe patterns on their chests and heads. The crested penguins all have bright yellow or orange plumes on their heads. Brushtail penguins have long stiff tail feathers. The king and emperor penguins have bright yellow and orange chest and head patches, and the yellow-eyed penguin has a yellow crown. The fairy penguin's feathers are bluish. The emperor penguin is the largest, at nearly four feet tall and seventy-five pounds. The small fairy penguin is sixteen inches tall and about three pounds. All have solid, heavy bones that help them dive deeply into the water. They have streamlined bodies that move smoothly through the water as they pump their strong, flipperlike wings and steer using their webbed feet and tails as rudders. Penguins can hold their breath for many minutes at a time, and they frequently leap out of the water, porpoiselike, to take inmore air. On land, penguins walk with an awkward sideways waddle. Because their short legs are set back on their bodies, they stand erect and must hold out their flippers for balance. Penguins often toboggan themselves by flopping on their bellies and pushing with their flippers and feet. Penguin feathers are tiny and stiff, overlapping to form a waterproof coat. An underneath layer of down helps to trap warm air and protect the penguin from the cold water and wind. Penguins of the Antarctic region have an insulating layer of blubber. Those in temperate climates often have to cool themselves down by ruffling their feathers and holding out their flippers. They can control the flow of blood to their unfeathered areas, such as the feet and under their flippers, which helps regulate their body temperature. Penguins preen their feathers regularly, to spread waterproofing oil from a gland near the tail.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

Photo Gallery of Penguin