Penguins are flightless birds of the order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae commonly found in the southern hemisphere. There are seventeen known species of penguins in the world, all of which are found in the southern hemisphere. Although the popular notion is that penguins are found only in cold climates, there are actually very few species of penguins found in such places as Antarctica. Some may even be found in the Galapagos Islands near the equator.
Of the seventeen species of penguins, the largest is the emperor penguin whose average height is 1.1 meters or 3 feet 7 inches and weighs 35 kilos/75 pounds or more. The Little Blue penguin is the smallest penguin species and stands at only 40 cm tall or 16 inches tall. The penguin's diet consists of fish, krill, squid and sea life caught underwater. A penguin is adaptable to both land and ocean, and its body is extremely hydrodynamic, allowing it to swim at great speeds. A penguin's wings have evolved to become flippers. On land, however, the penguin is characterized by its upright stance and peculiar waddle.
Although most people don't have the opportunity to observe penguins in their natural habitats, some zoos and wildlife parks are home to groups of penguins in captivity. The penguin is one of the most recognizable birds in the animal kingdom. The black and white plumage, upright waddling pace, and the lack of fear towards humans have made the penguin popular all over the world.
There are many references to the penguin in popular culture. The penguin has found its way into literature, films, comics, cartoons, sports mascots, computing, and even politics. If you want to know more about penguins, there are several websites dedicated to penguins. You can also visit a zoo to see penguins up close.
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