Different types of Penguins

September 15, 2014 | 0

Penguins are aquatic birds that are flightless as a result of adaptation. They are found mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Penguins are exclusively adapted for aquatic and cold life with their wings evolved and known as flippers. Most of them feed on sea life such as krill, fish and squid. Half of their life is spent on land and the rest in the oceans. Penguins are excellent swimmers. Certain species are also found in the temperate zones and near the equatorial zones. It is not essential that they can only be found in extreme cold areas.

different types of penguins

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Types of Penguins


Adelie Penguins are the most adapted species to the cold. They are medium in size and can be spotted by its white eyed ring. They breed from October to February around the shores of Antarctic continent, South Orkney, South Shetland and Bouvetoya. Since these Penguins are migratory they do not come back to their colonies till the next spring. Their diet consumption includes Krills, Euphausia superba, fish and amphipods in some locations.

African Penguin

The only species of penguin breeding in Africa, these were the first to be discovered by the Europeans. However their number decreased during the twentieth Century and their present and future is constantly under threat due to huge oil spills and other causes of global warming. These are largely found in Southern Africa and are exposed to the Benguela current that brings nutrient rich water to the coast. Almost all of them eat fish, especially anchovies, Cephalopods and crustaceans.

Chinstrap penguin

This species is one of the most delicate and beautiful looking penguins. As compared to the other kinds they have a whiter face. A thin dark line runs under their lower part of chin from which they get their name i.e. Chinstrap. They are also medium sized and can easily be spotted by their white face and the fine dark line. They depart from their breeding colonies when winters come and migrate northwards until next spring arrives. They mostly feed on Krills and other kinds of fishes play hardly any role in their diet.

Emperor Penguin

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As the name suggests it is an emperor in every aspect. Emperor penguins breed during Antarctic winters and are extremely well adapted to the extreme cold especially during the breeding season. They are bigger than any other kind of penguins. They breed during the winters in Antarctic from March to December. Their colonies allow them to stay close in cold. Interestingly, the male penguins are the care takers for two months incubation of the egg during the peak of winters and its darkness. Their diet includes fish and cephalopods like many other species.


These breed on the equatorial regions and are northernmost when it comes to geographical traits. They can easily be distinguished by their large bill and thin white line running around the face. Galapagos breed mainly inside the caves, burrows or crevices of older lava flows. They often stay closer to their breeding area throughout the year. They mainly feed upon smaller fishes like sardines and mullets.

Gentoo Penguin

These are differentiated by a white patch/spot around the eye. Their breeding ground is mainly the Sub-Antarctic but can also extend towards the Antarctic Peninsula. Dietary patterns differ from seasons and locations but majorly include Krills, especially in the southern parts. The lower regions provide benthic fish and squids.

King Penguin

King Penguins have the longest breeding cycle. They are the second largest species resembling the Emperor Penguins to some extent. Their cheeks are bright orange in color and belly is white with a grey back. They usually breed on Falkland, South Georgia, and Macquarie islands. For the King Penguins crustaceans and cephalopods play a minor role in diet. They mainly rely on pelagic fish, laternfish, and Protomyctophum tension.

Little Penguin

Little penguins are the world’s smallest penguin also referred to as Blue and Fairy Penguin. The upper portion is light blue to dark grayish blue in color varying according to age, season and subspecies. These penguins are nocturnal i.e.  They do not come to the shore before dark and leave before dawn. They nest under the trees, inside the, caves and in rock crevices. Breeding areas include Australia and New Zealand. Their breeding usually commences in August or September. They feed mainly on sardines and anchovies, cephalopods and sometimes crustaceans.

Magellenic Penguins

They resemble the African Penguins and are also closely related to them. However they breed on the other side of the Atlantic. It breeds in burrows that can be extricated or else under the bushes. They breed on low forests to grasslands and bare rocks.  Some of them also move to farthest zones of Peru and Brazil in winters and others in the Antarctic Peninsula, Australia, and New Zealand. Food consumption depends upon anchovies, sardines and cephalopods and sometimes smaller crustaceans.


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