Penguins | Spheniscidae

Penguins are a species of flightless aquatic birds that live south of the equator with the exception of one species that lives on the Galapagos Island. Having adapted for the water instead of the air, the penguin’s wings have evolved from wings to flippers; useful for propelling the penguin through the water. For its diet, penguins feed primarily on fish, krill, squid, that they hunt underwater. Penguins spend half of their lives on land and half of life in the water. The penguin is primarily black and white, but many species, such as the Emperor Penguin, have accents of colorful plumage on their faces and necks.

What do penguins eat?

Penguins typically eat the prey that is available in their habitat. King and Emperor Penguins mostly eat fish, but may also eat krill, crustaceans, and cephalopods. The diet of Adélie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo penguins mostly made up of Antarctic krill, silverfish, and glacial squid.

Why can’t penguins fly?

Although penguins are classified birds, their wings are more suited for water. A penguin’s wings are more like flippers and allow them to swim in the water. While they are on land their wings help them keep their balance and walk. Scientist believe penguins lost the ability to fly through evolution.

How do penguins stay warm?

Penguins stay warm through a layer of fat that protects them and serves as insulation while they are in the cold water. While they are on land the layers of overlapping feathers keep them warm, and protect them from harsh weather conditions.

Penguins Guides
Browse through our curated Penguins Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Penguins. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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18”-28” | 46-71 cm
8-13 lb | 3.6-6 kg
11-20 years
Adélie Penguin
71.000
6.000
20.00
2900
3D
Adélie Penguin
24”-27” | 61-69 cm
7.5”-8.7” | 19-22 cm
4.4-8.8 lb | 2-4 kg
10-30 years
African Penguin
69.000
22.000
4.000
30.00
23350
3D
African Penguin
27”-30” | 68-76 cm
7-12 lb | 3.2-5.3 kg
15-20 years
Chinstrap Penguin
76.000
5.300
20.00
6900
3D
Chinstrap Penguin
43”-51” | 110-130 cm
49-99 lb | 22-45 kg
15-20 years
Emperor Penguin
130.000
45.000
20.00
44000
3D
Emperor Penguin
20”-26” | 51-66 cm
9.4”-11.8” | 24-30 cm
6-13 lb | 2.7-5.9 kg
10-20 years
Erect-Crested Penguin
66.000
30.000
5.900
20.00
1200
3D
Erect-Crested Penguin
21”-23” | 53-58 cm
7.9”-9.1” | 20-23 cm
4.4-13.2 lb | 2-6 kg
10-20 years
Fiordland Penguin
58.000
23.000
6.000
20.00
1600
3D
Fiordland Penguin
18”-21” | 46-53 cm
5.5”-6.7” | 14-17 cm
3.5-6 lb | 1.6-2.7 kg
15-20 years
Galápagos Penguin
53.000
17.000
2.700
20.00
16400
3D
Galápagos Penguin
20”-35” | 51-90 cm
11-19 lb | 4.9-8.5 kg
15-20 years
Gentoo Penguin
90.000
8.500
20.00
9900
3D
Gentoo Penguin
24”-28” | 61-71 cm
7.9”-9.4” | 20-24 cm
8-13 lb | 3.6-6 kg
10-20 years
Humboldt Penguin
71.000
24.000
6.000
20.00
11200
3D
Humboldt Penguin
28”-39” | 70-100 cm
21-40 lb | 9.3-18 kg
15-30 years
King Penguin
100.000
18.000
30.00
15000
3D
King Penguin
63”-67” | 160-170 cm
17.7”-19.3” | 45-49 cm
198-220 lb | 90-100 kg
Kumimanu
170.000
49.000
100.000
750
3D
Kumimanu
12”-15” | 30.5-38 cm
4.7”-5.9” | 12-15 cm
2-3.5 lb | .9-1.6 kg
5-7 years
Little Penguin
38.000
15.000
1.600
7.00
19800
3D
Little Penguin
24”-27” | 61-69 cm
7-14 lb | 3.2-6.4 kg
15-20 years
Macaroni Penguin
69.000
6.400
20.00
15000
3D
Macaroni Penguin
24”-30” | 61-76 cm
8.3”-10.6” | 21-27 cm
5.5-14.3 lb | 2.5-6.5 kg
20-30 years
Magellanic Penguin
76.000
27.000
6.500
30.00
8400
3D
Magellanic Penguin
16”-18” | 41-46 cm
6.3”-7.5” | 16-19 cm
4-10 lb | 1.8-4.5 kg
10-30 years
Northern Rockhopper Penguin
46.000
19.000
4.500
30.00
2070
3D
Northern Rockhopper Penguin
26”-30” | 66-76 cm
9.8”-11.4” | 25-29 cm
8.8-14.3 lb | 4-6.5 kg
15-20 years
Royal Penguin
76.000
29.000
6.500
30.00
4400
3D
Royal Penguin
22”-28” | 56-71 cm
7.9”-10.2” | 20-26 cm
5-10 lb | 2.3-4.5 kg
15-20 years
Snares Penguin
71.000
26.000
4.500
20.00
260
3D
Snares Penguin
25”-39” | 65-100 cm
6.3”-10.2” | 16-26 cm
22-66 lb | 10-30 kg
Waimanu
100.000
26.000
30.000
540
3D
Waimanu
24”-31” | 61-79 cm
8.3”-11” | 21-28 cm
8-18 lb | 3.6-8.2 kg
10-25 years
Yellow-Eyed Penguin
79.000
28.000
8.200
25.00
6100
3D
Yellow-Eyed Penguin
Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus)
Scale illustration of an average Fiordland Penguin compared to a human and similar penguins

The Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) is endemic to New Zealand. It is also called the Fiordland crested penguin or New Zealand crested penguin. This medium-sized penguin is yellow-crested. The upper part is dark, bluish-grey, and the underparts white. The head is much darker while the eyebrows are covered with broad yellow stripes, extending over the eyes and drooping down the cheeks. The base of its bill is covered and not skinless like other similar-looking erect-crested penguins. Fiordland penguins are monomorphic, timid, shy, nocturnal, and choose secluded nesting sites away from one another. In addition, they use various barking sounds to communicate while at sea, but visual and vocal sounds while on land.

Fiordland Penguins have an overall height between 21”-23” (53-58 cm) and body width of 7.9”-9.1” (20-23 cm). The typical weight of the Fiordland Penguin is in the range of 4.4-13.2 lb (2-6 kg). Fiordland Penguins have lifespans between 10-20 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Fiordland Penguin seen from the side and front
The Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) is endemic to New Zealand. It is also called the Fiordland crested penguin or New Zealand crested penguin. This medium-sized penguin is yellow-crested. The upper part is dark, bluish-grey, and the underparts white.

Fiordland Penguins have an overall height between 21”-23” (53-58 cm) and body width of 7.9”-9.1” (20-23 cm). The typical weight of the Fiordland Penguin is in the range of 4.4-13.2 lb (2-6 kg). Fiordland Penguins have lifespans between 10-20 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Fiordland Penguin seen from the side and front
Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus)
Height:
21”-23” | 53-58 cm
Width:
7.9”-9.1” | 20-23 cm
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
4.4-13.2 lb | 2-6 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
Lifespan
10-20 years

Drawings include:

Fiordland Penguin side elevations, front, back

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Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi)
Scale illustration of an average Northern Rockhopper Penguin compared to a human and similar penguins

The Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi) inhabits mostly the southern Indian and the Atlantic ocean. It is also called the Moseley's penguin or Moseley's rockhopper penguin. This penguin has high vocal and visual communication signals such as loud bray, slapping each other with their flippers, and bowing and preening movements. The head and dorsal surface have black feathers, while the belly and chest are white. The eyes are bright red, bill orange-red, thicker and heavier in males, while the head plumes are long and yellow. The edges of the black flippers are white, while the feet are pink with black or grey claws. Juveniles have less showy plumage.

Northern Rockhopper Penguins have an overall height between 16”-18” (41-46 cm) and body width of 6.3”-7.5” (16-19 cm). The typical weight of the Northern Rockhopper Penguin is in the range of 4-10 lb (1.8-4.5 kg). Northern Rockhopper Penguins have lifespans between 10-30 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Northern Rockhopper Penguin seen from the side and front
The Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi) inhabits mostly the southern Indian and the Atlantic ocean. It is also called the Moseley's penguin or Moseley's rockhopper penguin. This penguin has high vocal and visual communication signals such as loud bray and slapping each other.

Northern Rockhopper Penguins have an overall height between 16”-18” (41-46 cm) and body width of 6.3”-7.5” (16-19 cm). The typical weight of the Northern Rockhopper Penguin is in the range of 4-10 lb (1.8-4.5 kg). Northern Rockhopper Penguins have lifespans between 10-30 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Northern Rockhopper Penguin seen from the side and front
Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi)
Height:
16”-18” | 41-46 cm
Width:
6.3”-7.5” | 16-19 cm
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
4-10 lb | 1.8-4.5 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Eudyptes moseleyi
Lifespan
10-30 years

Drawings include:

Northern Rockhopper Penguin side elevations, front, back

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Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)
Dimensioned elevation drawing of the Adélie Penguin compared to the height of standing man

The Adélie Penguin is named after Adelie Land who was the wife of Jules Dumont d’Urville, the French explorer who discovered the penguin. The Adélie Penguin is the most wide spread and southernly distributed of all penguin species, with its only habitat is along the coast of the Antarctic continent. The species' distinguishing marks are the white ring that surrounds the penguins’ eye and feathers at the base of the bill, and their appearance resembles a tuxedo. Adélie penguins can swim at around five miles per hour, and they can leap 10 feet out of the water to land on rocks or ice.

The Adélie Penguin has an average height range of 18”-28” (46-71 cm), weight of 8-13 lb (3.6-6 kg), and typical lifespan of 11-20 years.

Drawings of Adélie Penguins in an assortment of postures and stances from standing to walking
The Adélie Penguin is named after Adelie Land who was the wife of Jules Dumont d’Urville, the French explorer who discovered the penguin. The species' distinguishing marks are the white ring that around the penguins’ eye and feathers at the base of the bill, and their appearance resembles a tuxedo.

The Adélie Penguin has an average height range of 18”-28” (46-71 cm), weight of 8-13 lb (3.6-6 kg), and typical lifespan of 11-20 years.

Drawings of Adélie Penguins in an assortment of postures and stances from standing to walking
Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)
Height:
18”-28” | 46-71 cm
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
8-13 lb | 3.6-6 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Pygoscelis adeliae
Lifespan
11-20 years

Drawings include:
Adélie Penguin standing (side), looking (side), standing (back), walking (side), standing (front)

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Erect-Crested Penguin (Eudyptes sclateri)
Measured comparison illustration of the size of a Erect-Crested Penguin to a typical person and similar penguins

There is little knowledge about the biology and breeding habits of the Erect-crested Penguin (Eudyptes sclateri). However, what is known is that it breeds only on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands. It is endemic to the island bordering New Zealand. Like most penguins, it has a white underside, black upperparts, and yellow eye stripes or erect feathers above the eyes. The erect-crested penguin is small-to-medium-sized, yellow-crested, and considered among the largest crested penguins. Juveniles on the other side have shorter crests and chicks, white underparts, and gray-brown upperparts. These birds are very social, showing a variety of vocalizations and movements.

Erect-Crested Penguins have an overall height between 20”-26” (51-66 cm) and body width of 9.4”-11.8” (24-30 cm). The typical weight of the Erect-Crested Penguin is in the range of 6-13 lb (2.7-5.9 kg). Erect-Crested Penguins have lifespans between 10-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Erect-Crested Penguin in front and side poses
There is little knowledge about the biology and breeding habits of the Erect-crested Penguin (Eudyptes sclateri). However, what is known is that it breeds only on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands. It is endemic to the island bordering New Zealand.

Erect-Crested Penguins have an overall height between 20”-26” (51-66 cm) and body width of 9.4”-11.8” (24-30 cm). The typical weight of the Erect-Crested Penguin is in the range of 6-13 lb (2.7-5.9 kg). Erect-Crested Penguins have lifespans between 10-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Erect-Crested Penguin in front and side poses
Erect-Crested Penguin (Eudyptes sclateri)
Height:
20”-26” | 51-66 cm
Width:
9.4”-11.8” | 24-30 cm
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
6-13 lb | 2.7-5.9 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Eudyptes sclateri
Lifespan
10-20 years

Drawings include:

Erect-Crested Penguin side elevations, front, back

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Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)
Measured comparison illustration of the size of a Humboldt Penguin to a typical person and similar penguins

The migrant Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) got its name from the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt. It is medium-sized and endemic to South America, especially on the western side. Male and females are differentiated by head width, and bill length as males possess longer bills. The feathers on the chest are white, and those on the back are blackish-grey. The head is black but with white stripes under the eyes. These stripes also wrap around the head and connect at the chin. It is differentiated from other species that it co-exists with, like the Magellan penguin by a solid, black breast band. This feature also separates it from juveniles that have no breast-bands. The Humboldt penguin shows different vocalizations for communicating in different ways.

Humboldt Penguins have an overall height between 24”-28” (61-71 cm) and body width of 7.9”-9.4” (20-24 cm). The typical weight of the Humboldt Penguin is in the range of 8-13 lb (3.6-6 kg). Humboldt Penguins have lifespans between 10-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Humboldt Penguin in front and side poses
The migrant Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) got its name from the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt. It is medium-sized and endemic to South America, especially on the western side. Male and females are differentiated by head width, and bill length as males possess longer bills.

Humboldt Penguins have an overall height between 24”-28” (61-71 cm) and body width of 7.9”-9.4” (20-24 cm). The typical weight of the Humboldt Penguin is in the range of 8-13 lb (3.6-6 kg). Humboldt Penguins have lifespans between 10-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Humboldt Penguin in front and side poses
Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)
Height:
24”-28” | 61-71 cm
Width:
7.9”-9.4” | 20-24 cm
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
8-13 lb | 3.6-6 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Spheniscus humboldti
Lifespan
10-20 years

Drawings include:

Humboldt Penguin side elevations, front, back

Details & Downloads

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