Do Penguins Live In Antarctica? Cool Facts About Funny Feathery Birds | Kidadl


Do Penguins Live In Antarctica? Cool Facts About Funny Feathery Birds

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Polar regions on both hemispheres of the Earth have striking differences and although the icy landscapes and the longer periods of day and night seem similar, the species found are worlds apart.

The most common birds that you will see in the Antarctic are penguins. The populations of these flightless birds will be in thousands and sometimes even more than a city as they live in colonies.

Penguins survive in the harshest of conditions and still survive to the best of their abilities. Found in Antarctica, penguins are even seen as the national emblem of the country and the people living there are proud to live amongst the beautiful birds called penguins. Some penguin species are found even in the equator, however, most are seen in icy areas. There are 18 penguin species found all over the world and only the Adelie penguin and the emperor penguin make the continent of Antarctica their main homes. The northern tip of the Antarctic region sees the populations of chinstrap, Gentoo, and macaroni penguins. They breed in the same area too. A total of 17 penguin species live in the Southern hemisphere and only the Galapagos penguin lives in the Northern hemisphere, although it is almost on the equator line in the Galapagos Islands. King penguins are found in the northerly subantarctic islands of Antarctica. The cooler waters of the southern hemisphere are the real living areas of the penguins even with the harsh conditions.

Antarctic penguins have basic black and white coats. You can differentiate between penguins by seeing the colors and features of the head and neck of the species. Some species will have black parts, while others will have yellow patches and other species with colored eyebrows. You will see similar body structures in all the species, but the size differs from species to species. The emperor penguin is around 48 in (122 cm) tall and weighs around 99 lb (45 kg), while the little penguin is around 15.7 in (40 cm) tall and weighs around 2.4 lb (1.1 kg). Penguins need to keep the temperature of their feet a few degrees above freezing and they have a clever way to do that. Penguins stand on the ice for hours at a time by controlling the blood flow to their feet. The blood flow is reduced in cold weather conditions. There are heat exchangers that absorb the heat from the blood flowing to the feet and use the same heat to heat up the blood going up the body. These heat exchangers are present at the top of the legs.

It is said that there were about 25 species of penguins in the world, mostly in Antarctica. But most of those penguins are now extinct and only a few remain. Penguins are highly evolved to live in the coldest of places and hence the Antarctic peninsula. Fossils of the earlier penguins show that the birds used to fly some 50 million years ago, but evolved from that soon after. Some penguin fossils found even show that the extinct species were as tall as a man. Penguins are the most efficient swimmers among birds and that is the reason they have evolved into the flightless ones now, even after having wings and feathers in their arsenal. Penguins live in large colonies and spend almost 75 percent of their time inside water diving and swimming as sea ice disappears in the right weather conditions. The wings present in a penguin are instead used to propel them underwater. Penguins are beautiful creatures of the cold and will be seen easily in their habitats in the Antarctic peninsula, sub-Antarctic islands, and the Galapagos Islands.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about are do penguins fly and do penguins have feathers here on Kidadl?

What do penguins feed on in Antarctica?

Penguins are known to eat krill, fish, and squids. Krill is a crustacean (shrimp-like) in the Euphausiidae family.

Different species of penguins have different preferences when it comes to food and it helps to reduce the competition among the different breeds of penguins. The smaller penguins of the Antarctic islands and the sub-Antarctic islands feed specifically on squids and krill, while others in the northern part of the Antarctic feed on fish. Small krill are eaten by Adelie penguins, while the emperor penguin and king penguins feed on squids and fish. Penguins are known to feed at sea and the feeding stays near the surface. They rely on their eyes when hunting and catch the prey with the bill and even eat the prey while swimming. Penguins have powerful jaws and spiny tongues to help them catch slimy prey that can escape from the mouths of other animals.

The amount of food penguins eat depends on the region they live in and the amount of prey present. An emperor penguin loses almost half of its body weight when the male does not eat for around four months during the breeding season. It starts from the arrival of the male emperor penguins to the colony to breed and stay until the eggs hatch and the female emperor penguins return to feed the kids. This only happens in the breeding season.

How many penguin species live in Antarctica?

There are 18 species of penguins living in the world and most of the species are found in colder places, except the Galapagos penguins that are found in the Galapagos Islands situated near the equator.

Let us learn about the 8 species of Penguins found in Antarctica, its nearby islands, and the sub-Antarctic islands. Emperor penguins and Adelie penguins are found only in the Antarctic continent, while chinstraps, macaronis, and gentoos are found both in northern Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. There are three penguin species found only in the sub-Antarctic islands called the rockhoppers, Megallanics, and king penguins.

The emperor penguin is the largest of the penguins and is found only in the said region. The penguin grows up to 48 in (121.9 cm) tall and is almost as tall as a human child. The penguin feeds on crustaceans, fish, and squid and lives in a large penguin colony. These penguin species do not leave their homes and are known to breed during the winter season. Emperor penguins living in Antarctica are specially adapted to live in the harsh conditions of the region where it is windy all the time and the temperature goes down to around -58 F (-50 C). The two layers of feathers help the emperor penguins live in these conditions as they have a good reserve of fat with smaller beaks and flippers than other penguins. It helps to prevent loss of heat. There are even feathers on the legs to keep them warm.

The Adelie penguin is another species that is found only in Antarctica. These penguins are smaller in size and can dive better than most. They catch their prey near the surface of the water. They migrate from northerly Antarctic pack ice to the continental coastline and Antarctic islands with respect to climate change. As the temperature rises and the sea ice vanishes, they begin their movement. The breeding season is one of the shortest in these penguins.

Only the above two species are found in Antarctica. We will also discuss the king penguin living in the sub-Antarctic only.

The king penguins are the second largest species of penguins found in the world. They stand about 37 in (94 cm) tall and weigh around 35 lb (16 kg). They eat squid and fish and stay near the coastlines of the area. These penguins are very social and live in huge colonies to breed. The breeding season from courtship to the fledging of the chicks is also very long at 14 months.

Do any other animals in Antarctica?

Apart from the emperor penguins and the Adelie penguins, there are many other species of the animal kingdom living in Antarctica.

There are many species of whales found in the area. Most animals found in the region are warm-blooded and the cold does not affect them as much. Some species of animals and birds found in Antarctica are krill, Weddell seals, wandering albatross, southern fur seal, snow petrel, southern elephant seal, Antarctic skua, chinstrap penguin, crabeater seal, blue-eyed shag, gentoo penguin, leopard seal, giant petrel, cape pigeon, snowy sheathbill, Arctic tern, and Antarctic land invertebrates. Macaroni penguins are also found in the area and all species live in harmony with each other. You will also see leopard seals, king penguins, killer whales or orcas, and blue whales.

Emperor Penguin colony at Snow Hill in Antarctica.

What is the life span of a penguin in Antarctica?

The usual lifespan of a penguin ranges from species to species. There are 18 different species of penguins and the age differs with the variables like climate, food found, and care for oneself.

Emperor penguins are known to live for 15-20 years. Adelie penguins live for 11-20 years. A gentoo penguin will live for around 20 years and the chinstrap penguin also lives around the same age as a gentoo penguin. Macaroni penguins live for 15 years. Rockhopper penguins live for 10 years in the wild.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do penguins live in Antarctica, then why not take a look at what is a group of penguins called, or do penguins have teeth.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

<p>A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.</p>

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