5 Cool Facts about Penguins for Penguin Awareness Day

Emperor penguin

It’s Penguin Awareness Day today! Here are five cool facts about penguins to celebrate.

  1. Emperor penguins don’t build nests. Instead, the male emperor penguin balances the egg on his feet and covers it with a warm layer of feathered skin called a brood pouch.
  2. African penguins are also called jackass penguins. They make donkey-like braying sounds to communicate.
  3. One species of penguin is called the macaroni penguin. They’re not made of noodles, but they do have fun yellow feathered crests on their heads.
  4. Penguins have white bellies and black backs, which aids in camouflage. Their white belly will blend with the light when predators look up at them from below, and their black backs meld with the darker seas when predators look down on them from above.
  5. Gentoo penguins are the fastest penguins, swimming at speeds up to 35 km/h (22 mph).

Featured Animal: Emperor Penguin

Meet our featured animal: the emperor penguin!

Emperor penguin

Here are five fun facts about emperor penguins:

  • The emperor penguin is the largest of 17 species of penguin at 1.15 m (45 in.) tall.
  • Emperor penguins are specially adapted to living in a cold environment. They have
    four layers of scale-like feathers and large amounts of fat.
  • They can dive deeper than any other bird – as deep as 565 m (1850 ft.) – and they can stay underwater for more than 20 minutes.
  • Every winter (which begins in March in Antarctica), emperor penguins traverse up 80 km (50 mi.) across the ice to reach stable breeding grounds.
  • A male emperor penguin must use his own body to create a safe, warm environment for his egg because there are no nesting supplies available on the ice mass.  He balances the egg on his feet and covers it with a warm layer of feathered skin called a brood pouch.

Learn more at our emperor penguin facts page!