With their tuxedo-like coloring, awkward Charlie Chaplin waddle and stubby outstretched wings, the penguin is a Wild Kingdom fan favorite. And for good reason ... they are cute and cool! Just don't look for them at the North Pole. All 17 species of penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.
Get to know the king, gentoo and rockhopper penguin.
Michael Phelps, watch out! While most humans swim underwater at around four to seven mph, we gentoo penguins can reach top speeds of 22 mph. And when that’s not fast enough, we “porpoise” by jumping out of the water. It’s a move that helps us get away from predators.Tweet this Fact
We don’t wear tuxedos to make a fashion statement. Our coloration helps camouflage us while swimming. From above, our black backs blend into the dark ocean water and, from below, our white bellies match the bright surface lit by sunlight. This helps us avoid predators, such as leopard seals, and hunt for fish unseen.Tweet this Fact
Can you hear me now? While we don’t have visible ears, we do have very good hearing. An ear canal under our feathers allows us to hear on land and under water. Hearing is very important to us so we can zero in on our mates or chicks within a colony that could have 80,000 or more birds.Tweet this Fact
Okay ... we admit it ... we walk funny. But in addition to waddling, we can hop and slide on our bellies. We can’t fly, but our wings evolved into powerful flippers that allow us to move through water with ease. We’re the fastest swimming and deepest diving species of any bird!Tweet this Fact
We’re birds, so we don’t have teeth ... only beaks. Our tongues are special, though. They have barbs that point backwards, helping us swallow slippery fish, squid and krill.Tweet this Fact