Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds. They live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species, the Galapagos penguin, found north of the equator. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have evolved into flippers.
Penguins feed mainly on krill, fish and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their lives on land and half in the oceans. They breed in colonies which are occupied by multiple males who mate with females. The males take no part in rearing the young, but may defend their nests from predators and may perform a display during courtship.
The female lays a single egg which is incubated by both parents for about 40 days before hatching, during which time she fasts. Once the chick has hatched it swims out to sea within three weeks although it will return to its parents for several months afterwards for food.
Last modified: October 8, 2022