Penguins are inspirational. Penguins are aquatic, flightless birds. There is debate over the number of species, however there are approximately twenty species. The smallest is the little blue penguin at about 16 inches tall and just over two pounds. The largest is the emperor penguin at just over 3 and a half feet and about 77 pounds. All penguins spend at least half of their life in water and are carnivorous. They mainly eat krill, fish, and squid. Penguins live in the southern hemisphere for the most part. Many live in Antarctica. The Galapagos penguin lives near the equator and several species are found in the temperate zone.
Penguins are known for their black and white plumage. Many species have color besides black and white. Body parts in some species have yellow or orange feathers and body markings. The white on their undersides help camouflage them from sea predators and the black helps camouflage them from above while they are swimming.
Penguins live in social groups called colonies. They have average hearing and parents use noises to find each other and their young. Colonies, depending on the species, may range from 100 to several hundred thousand pairs of penguins. Penguins are monogamous for at least a breeding season, however can be for life. Depending on the species the pair may have one or two eggs at a time, most have one. Males and females take turns during egg incubation and while caring for young. Lasting homosexual couples do form as well. Chicks are mature enough to mate between three and eight years old.
Penguins species are considered endangered, vulnerable, or threatened depending on the species. Penguins do not seem to be afraid of humans and there are rules for human tourists to keep their distance, although they do not have to retreat if a penguin comes close to them. Penguins have a large role in popular culture. Penguins have important roles in books, on television, and in films. Their waddle and plumage make them popular around the world. Many sports teams have adopted them as well. The NHL’s Pittsburg Penguins is one major example.
Enjoy penguin’s additions to our popular culture or their roles in their own colonies. Be inspired! Have a bright day!