As I was thinking over which creature to feature in my AotW post, it dawned upon me that I have yet to spotlight the penguin. This was one of my favorite animals growing up, and with good reason. Below, I highlight five interesting facts about this monochromatic, winter weather-loving, flightless bird.
- The largest living species of penguin is the Emperor penguin. These animals can grow to about three feet tall and weigh about 77 pounds.
- There are between 17 and 20 known species of the penguin, almost all found in the Southern hemisphere.
- The Magellanic Penguin is native to southern South America, specifically on the coasts of Argentina and Chile, among other countries. It is named after Ferdinand Magellan (first European explorer to circumnavigate the world), who first spotted them in 1520.
- The Rockhopper penguin is distinct in its features. Notice the yellow crests and eyebrows and red eyes.
- Penguins face increasing challenges due to climate change. Researchers estimate up to an 80 percent decrease of the penguin population in some areas. Most impacted by temperature shifts is the African penguin, who relies on a diet of anchovies and sardines. With rising sea temperatures, many of these underwater food sources will move farther away from islands lining Africa’s southern coasts, causing a longer-than-usual trek for the penguin to reach its food.
All in all, this is a creature that defies many of the conventions set forth in the animal world, and continues to fascinate researchers and curious minds the world over. What I always found most interesting about penguins is the diversity among the various species, with each being equally impressive as the next.
The animal world is a treasure trove of awe-inspring characters. Speaking of characters, find a few famous penguins on screen from recent years (err, decades).
Notice the rockhopper penguin named Rocko who can *apparently* fly.
Just a few other popular penguins.