Our Beautiful World



A group of emperor penguins photographed at Cape Crozier.
Photo Credit: Gerald Kooyman, NSF / Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Penguins (Spheniscidae) is a group of funny birds that consists of 17 species. Penguins live on the southern part of our Globe,
most of them in Antarctic. Three species exist in the temperate zone, and one specie lives as far north as Galápagos.

Penguins can not fly. On ground they walk upright. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark
and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of
sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their life on land and half in the oceans.

Copyright © Vladimir Dinets

The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri: adults average about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh
35 kg (75 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as the
Fairy Penguin, which stands around 40 cm tall (16 in) and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Among extant penguins, larger penguins inhabit
colder regions, while smaller penguins are generally found in temperate or even tropical climates .

Penguins are superbly adapted to aquatic life. Their vestigial wings have become flippers, useless for flight in the air.
In the water, however, penguins are astonishingly agile. Penguins' swimming looks very similar to bird's flight in the air.
Within the smooth plumage a layer of air is preserved, ensuring buoyancy. The air layer also helps insulate the birds in cold waters.
On land, penguins use their tails and wings to maintain balance for their upright stance.

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All penguins are countershaded for camouflage – that is, they have black backs and wings with white fronts. A predator looking
up from below (such as an orca or a leopard seal) has difficulty distinguishing between a white penguin belly and the reflective
water surface. The dark plumage on their backs camouflages them from above.

Diving penguins reach 6 to 12 km/h (3.7 to 7.5 mph), though there are reports of velocities of 27 km/h (17 mph)
(which are more realistic in the case of startled flight). The small penguins do not usually dive deep; they catch their prey
near the surface in dives that normally last only one or two minutes. Larger penguins can dive deep in case of need.
Dives of the large Emperor Penguin have been recorded reaching a depth of 565 m (1,870 ft) for up to 22 minutes.

Copyright © Vladimir Dinets

Penguins for the most part breed in large colonies, the exceptions being the Yellow-eyed and Fiordland species;
these colonies may range in size from as few as a 100 pairs for Gentoo Penguins, to several hundred thousand in the case
of King, Macaroni and Chinstrap Penguins. Living in colonies results in a high level of social interaction between birds,
which has led to a large repertoire of visual as well as vocal displays in all penguin species. Agonistic displays are those
intended to confront or drive off, or alternately appease and avoid conflict with, other individuals.

Penguins form monogamous pairs for a breeding season, though the rate the same pair recouples varies drastically.
Most penguins lay two eggs in a clutch, although the two largest species, the Emperor and the King Penguins, lay only one.
With the exception of the Emperor Penguin, all penguins share the incubation duties. These incubation shifts can last days
and even weeks as one member of the pair feeds at sea.

Penguins generally only lay one brood; the exception is the Little Penguin, which can raise two or three broods in a season.

Copyright © Vladimir Dinets

Penguin eggs are smaller than any other bird species when compared proportionally to the weight of the parent birds;
at 52 g (2 oz), the Little Penguin egg is 4.7% of its mothers' weight, and the 450 g (1 lb) Emperor Penguin egg is 2.3%.
The relatively thick shell forms between 10 and 16 % of the weight of a penguin egg, presumably to minimise risk of breakage
in an adverse nesting environment. The yolk, too, is large, and comprises 22–31 % of the egg. Some yolk often remains when
a chick is born, and is thought to help sustain it if parents are delayed in returning with food.

When mothers lose a chick, they sometimes attempt to "steal" another mother's chick, usually unsuccessfully as other females
in the vicinity assist the defending mother in keeping her chick. In some species, such as Emperor Penguins, young penguins
assemble in large groups called crèches.

Text above frm Wikipedia

Life of Emperor penguins
Photo: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation (Public domain)

List of Penguins on www.vulkaner.no. Now also with video on all!

Adeliepingvin Adélie Penguin Pygoscelis adeliae
Kappingvin African / Jackass / Blackfooted Penguin Spheniscus demersus
Ringpingvin Chinstrap Penguin Pygoscelis antarctica
Keiserpingvin Emperor Penguin Aptenodytes forsteri
Hornpingvin Erect-crested Penguin Eudyptes solateri
Skogpingvin Fiordland Penguin Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
Galapagos penguin Spheniscus mendiculus
Bøylepingvin Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua
Humboldtpingvin Humboldt Penguin Spheniscus humboldti
Kongepingvin King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus
Dvergpingvin Little Blue Penguin / Fairy penguin Eudyptula minor
Gulltoppingvin Macaroni Penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus
Magellanpingvin Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus
Klippehopperpingvin Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome
Hvitkinnpingvin Royal Penguin Eudyptes schlegeli
Snarespingvin Snares Island Penguin Eudyptes robustus
Hvitvingepingvin White-flippered Penguin Eudyptula minor albosignata
Guløyepingvin Yellow-eyed Penguin Megadyptes antipodes


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