Where do penguins live

Where do penguins live? Antarctica. This is the landmass found at the South ploe as a continent in the very South of the earth. Other regions are Australia, Africa and South America as well. Antarctica is all ice and this place is the perfect place for penguins to live since their bodies are adapted to live in places packed with ice. Although some of the species may survive in places that are comparatively warmer but most of these land dweller have inhabited Antarctica. This continent is the only place in earth where you will find no native human population rather the only handle existence there is that of those people who go there for research purposes or as teams. There are species also found in Antarctica but penguins are the most notable ones.

What are penguins?

Penguins are filghtless sea creatures that live in Antarctica and their scientific name is Spheniscidae. They are carnivores and live in Colonies. The average life span is 15-20 years. They have a body mass of 2-88 pound and length goes up to 16 – 45 inches. The typical.appearance of a penguin is a white belly and black body. This contrasting colour helps in giving a camaflauge from the predators because in this way when they are swimming they can either hide in the shadows. Or when seen from below their white belly will blend with the sky and black bodies to be part of land if seen from top.
Penguins are birds that cannot fly but their wings or more prescisely flippers are strong webbed fore limbs that make them perfect swimmers. Not to forget this is enhanced by their webbed feet to push water backwards and stay firm.on the ground. Most of their life is spent in water because they get their food from there while swimming. Basic diet includes crabs, squid and krill. They can swim real fast in the sea estimating 15 miles an hour. Their mode of transporting themselves is not just swimming or walking but there is an exclusive mode which helps them in going even quicker called propoise which is sliding on their bellies to reach other place. This make them go even faster and is a strategy to run away from predators. Another way is to jump out of the water and leap. Their major threat is from within the ocean.

Penguins as land dwellers

The part of life penguins spend on the land involves them to waddle. This special hair is all associated with penguins when they walk upright having their flippers resting on the sides and they themselves giving side to side jerks. They also hop or run while their bodies leaning forward. They also travel across the landmass covering distances quickly by sliding on their bellies and pushing the ice backwards to give them a forefront go. This can be called tobogganing. Their colonies are of a great advantage to them because it not only helps them.in getting the right kind of protection but also that when it gets cold they come and huddle together to stay warmer. The population count for these colonies can go from thousand to millions.

How do penguins breed?

Penguins have an interesting way of bringing up their children. In most species it is the responsibility of the mother to look after the young one. While in case of penguins they lay eggs and then their chicks hatch from them. Since eggs have the typical calcium carbonate shell so it needs to be kept warm at a certain temperature till the chick comes out. Penguins mostly stay with the same partners for years and the number eggs laid at a time is one or two. The parents have to make shifts or take turns to look after the baby. When the father is staying with the chick the mother will go hunting and forage food and vice versa. Every year there is a huge gathering of the chicks and their at that time single parent to wait for the other parent at the shore. When the parent arrives from the sea they produce a unique sound which has a different radio frequency for each chick. As he recognizes it he meets with either of his mother or father.

There are two other aspects to it. Every baby bird is born with less if feathers on them. They slowly and gradually develop theses feathers which later become big enough for them to be used in flying. This is called fledging. As the feathers grow there also comes a time of shedding where the new ones grow to replace the older ones. This process is called molting. In penguins molting occurs in the parent penguins when their young ones fledge. Among other species the shedding process may take intervals it is slow. But in penguins all the warm weather come off at once. This is called catastrophic moly. These regrow in a matter of few weeks because the penguins cannot go hunting in the cold water without them. These feather given them water proofing protection.

What are the threats to penguins?

Penguins are a beautiful creature which is constantly dropping in numbers because of many reasons. There have been human intervention through tourist which cases spread of infectious diseases among the poor birds. Other diseases may also contribute in the mass reduction. Several reasons may contribute for them to lose their habitat that makes survival difficult for them.
Fishing by humans in the Southern oceans has also increased significantly that the number of fish left for penguins to feed on is only half. When the number of prey decreases in their Antarctic Peninsula they have to compete for the food to go farther miles this getting caught up in the fishing nets thus posing more threat.
Climate change is the biggest threat imposed upon penguins. The globe us getting warmer day by day due to increased carbon footprint and ozone layer depletion. The rate of ice melting in the South Pole is ever more quick. At this pace the ice cap may lose all their frozen land mass by the end of century. This ice being the natural habitat for penguins will also lead these creatures losing their place for nesting and finding food. So depletion of ice means killing all the penguins at once. They may be forced to live in a new habitat which suits their natural adaptabilty or not depends. But in this attempt there will be many penguins completely lost.

Inhabitation of penguins

If you wonder where do penguins live? Then they are famous to live in the garage environment of the Antarctic region but actually only two of the species live in Antarctica. The rest of 16 species of penguins live on almost every region of the Southern Hemispheres. They have inhabited regions from Africa to Australia and also the coastal South America. This also includes the small islands deep in the seas. There are total of ten region where the penguins live.


Antarctica is the region which comes first in mind where these creatures live in 5 million pairs. The region has no human population. Thick ice has formed the land mass which they use for living in the coldest, driest and highest climate conditions. The two main species that have made Antartica their home are Adelie and the Emporer. Other species that breed on Antarctica’s subisland are Gentoo, Macaroni and Chinstrap. Although they spend some of their time on the Antarctic penisula as well but breed on the mentioned areas. If you want to know what the Emporer penguin looks like them it has the famous black and white attire and what comes in mind while thinking of penguins. They are most in number not just in Antarctica but also all over the world. Another interesting fact is that they have started in the movie ‘ March of the penguin’.


It may seem ironic that penguins are dwellers of cold harsh climate and for them to live in hot and tropical climate like that of Australia bit odd but there have been researched which have proved that the rmearkier species of penguins actually lives in New Zealand and Australia. The species that exist here today is the little penguin for which the environment of Australia suits perfect. These smallest among all the specie have made its way through survival at the southern coasts of Australia for it offers the required temperate climate and cool waters. Mostly there is a colony of somewhat 32000 penguins that live in Philips Island which is in the outliers.


Argentina occupies a great landmass in the southern part of South America. The specie adapted to the cold south Pacific ocean waters is Magellanic penguins. These are in great numbers along the coastlines and their appearance is having white stripes that start from their heads and lead to the entire body and sized somewhat medium. You can find a whooping amount of 20000 pairs populating the main regions named Punto Tombo in province Chubutbin Atlantic coast. The prevailing colony is said to be decreasing in number but there is a new colony that is found in the remote areas of Argentina in 2020.

The Falkland Islands

The Falkland Island are present in South America 300 miles in the east of Patagonia. It is a archipelago in Southeast Atlantic ocean. They human population in this region is merely 3500 while the Sandy beaches can be said as the capital of penguin world reaching one million of five different species namely Macaroni, King, Gentoo, Rockhopper and Magellanic. Largest populated specie among them is Gentoo who got their name from the term Portugese trafmders would use for Indians in 16th century. The penguins are also called so because of their head resembling that of a turban.
They make penguin highways because they live 300 miles from the coasts and constantly move to and from the ocean. Their number is also increasing although in rest of the parts of the world these figures are declining.

Galapagos Island

This is the only place in Northern Hemisphere which inhabitants in Ecuador. These islands are located as volcanic chains at the coast of Pacific ocean. These are along the equatorial line and the only species of penguins that exist is Galapagos. Their height reaches uptown only 20 inches tall helping them crawl easily into the crevices and caves to save themselves from the harsh hot environment. There are ocean current called Humboldt Current brings the cool water from Antarctica to South of America’s coastline. This also brings their food in the form of fish that suits them well. Unfortunately they have been listed in the endangered species because of their declining number remaining upto only 600 pairs.

Tristan Da Cunha

This is a small island in South of Atlantic ocean with chain of extinct volcanoes. This is one of the most farthest chain of islands with it’s closest neighbour being African and South American archipelago some 1000 miles away. These islands are the residential site for the rockhopper penguins which nest 27,000 penguins on its 500 square mile area. There has been a remarkable decline in their number since 1950 and now listed in the engdangered species. The reason attributed to this cause is the rise in temperature and decrease in the number of fish to feed upon

New Zealand

New Zealand hosts not just little but four species of this creature. Although the overall climate of this country is considered tropical but the southern oceans bring cold currents for penguins to adapt efficiently. Where do penguins live? Here again the coastline reports to have 4000 such species of yellow eyed little snares with a crest on them. They are not just found along the coastline but also in the outskirts island towards the south. The largest population of penguins found in New Zealand is also the endangered species.

South Africa

It is just recently seen that South Africa is also populating number of penguins. For many years these penguins were restricted to the coastlines Mozambique to Angola in the southern Africa. It was inn1980 that penguins started living at the beaches of Cape Town as well. The reason attributed was that increasing human inhabitants have pushed back the predators which were a threat to their survival. This specie is also among the endangered species because of its continually declining number since 1920.

Bounty and Antipodes Island.

These islands are located a long way deep in the Pacific ocean. These are chains of island that stretch 400 miles across the coasts of New Zealand in the Southeastern region. These lands do not have any human population but the penguins who breed only here with erected crests. The penguins living in this Rocky steep land are the least researched upon so their migration patterns are not much known. All that is reported is that they come for breeding in this land in September and leave in February. After fulfilling their trip they go in the sea and are seen only in the next September.

The South Sandwich Islands and the South Georgia Islands.

These two islands are part of territories in the British Overseas far in the south of Atlantic Ocean. Mostly this place hosts the scientific researches rather having any natives. The species of penguins found in these grounds is chinstrap, king and macaroni in large numbers. The macaroni penguin has extended yellow eyelashes or feathers which give the image of macaroni noodles. They occupy the breeding ground in large numbers going up to 100,000 birds. The total number of macaroni penguin is up to 1 million breeding pairs


This clarifies where do penguins live? The answer is not simply Antarctica rather their number is scattered all over the places at different shorelines and island. They are both land and water dwellers. Their breeding occurs in the land and they gather their food from the water. Their number is decreasing due to changes in the climate and increasing human intervention at places. We as lovers of nature should value these adorable creatures so that they can survive to reset their numbers. It is worrying to see that more and more species are becoming part of the endangered list. The conservationist are doing their job well but we being individuals should make sure that there is lesser contribution in the carbon footprint. So that next time when we see where do penguins live? their number should be increasing.

How do penguins hunt?

Penguins are unique creatures which are a sight for the sore eyes. Their gait may seem funny but actually they do not seem to be working so well on the ground so their swimming abilities come to play. Being unable to fly with their flippers just laying on the sides otherwise; their streamlined body and webbed feet come to play when they are gliding in waters. It is a sight to see how they dash through the water and have adapted perfectly the marine life. Their food majorly includes crustaceans like squids, krill and small fish. They use their vision to get the hunt. Either they will passively move through their desired clouds of squids or may be use the amazing speed to chase down their prey.

Hunting strategies of penguins

The species of penguins all have to direct towards water to get their prey. They will choose either near the surface to Target or the mid level which can go from hundred to thousand of feet. For example emporer or king may go into more depths. Some species may also go to the bottom of the sea namely yellow eyed penguin, rockhopper, Gentoo, king and emperor.
The target of the penguin to have for lunch is something that is offer more nutrition and less effort to catch. Their hunt is not necessary to be successful everytime so they can also take whatever comes in way even if it is not among their typical diet. This behavior was observed in little penguin in Australia that after much of the effort going back to the surface empty beak this creature would feed rather on jellyfish.

What is group foraging

Penguins live in colonies so foraging the food in groups is common among them. Even seen in the little penguin. The advantage of such kind of act is that there will be more eyes to have a look out for the school of fish. Additionally we can say that group foraging can give a protection against the predators.
This hunting behavior may also pursue competition among them to catch the prey. For example there have been one such recorded that a Gentoo tried to snatch food from his fellow.
The African penguins are seen to take much advantage from the grouping in a way that they will pin the school of targeted fish to the surface. The small school of fish makes a bait ball which is their defense mechanism to start circulating around a centre so to get protected from predators. But penguins when hunting together can break through the ball bait resulting in the opportunity to catch the fish that is panicking and getting scattered. It is also assumed that the black and white colour of penguins creates a confusing scenario for the fish.

Attacking from underneath.

The way penguins attack to grab their fish speaks a lot about their hunting style. Studies on the Australian little penguins showed that they were able to attack from the sides or above. The researches on the emporer penguins reveals that they attack from below as well underneath the thick Antarctic ice they dip to a medium depth and then raise back up to catch their prey.
The reason for this approach may be because penguins have a better visibility from this angle. Plus those who prey on lobsters need to be aware of their pincers which can grab them in an attempt to defend themselves. For example in the Falkisland Gentoo penguin the stack from below saves them from the possible reaction from the prey to thwart the attempt. Magellanic penguins show that they sometimes dash through the krills to Target the little fish they feed on not to hunt the krills.

Looking for prey in the sky

Penguins do try to locate the presence of large bird gatherings such as gulls, shearwaters, fulmars and gannets. Why because keeping a track on them would mean there is a school of small fish nearby. Since these fish are readily food for these birds as well so if penguins want to know the location of their prey then they have to keep an eye on the presence of these birds as well. Study was conducted in Australia by attaching cameras to birds and saw that penguins would follow these birds to attempt to lay hands on their fish.
Some food facts for penguins.
• Majorly the diet for penguins is squids, fish or krill. According to an estimate an entire breeding population of Adelie penguins may consume, 3500 metric tons squids, 11500 metric ton fish and 1500000 metric ton krill yearly. Some penguins may adapt to other food options to reduce competition.
• The prey for penguins can change their locations daily or seasonally.
• The fishing or hunting occurs some 15.3 to 18.3 metres from the surface of the sea.
• They collaboratively make their prey stay near the shores for an easy capture. The penguins may pursuit the fish combined with other birds to direct the hunt at a particular place.
• Penguins have strong jaws that can easily grab the otherwise slippery prey. Their tongue is spiny and the prey they capture is swallowed a whole down the throat.
• It will be odd to know that stones have been found in great numbers from the stomach content of different species of penguins. Scientist believed that the ingestion may be accidental. But actually there have been some assumptions that maybe for the purpose to reduce buoyancy in water. Other reason can be to decrease the feeling of hunger. This seems like a purposeful act for the reason of digesting the endoskeleton of crustacean which is very tough.
• The tougher the prey us the more efficient is the hunter. In case of penguins those specie who follow the schools of fish are considered better because of the fish ability to produce defence mechanism which are hard to crack. For example school of fish may scatter away that will lead into penguins to be more efficient to hunt them down.
• Penguins fast. They have to breed on the grounds and during that period they cannot go to the water to hunt. Before fasting their body accumulates enough fat deposits to facilitate the energy levels throughout. Their fasting has to go through the phase of moulting as well when they do not have any warm feather on the body. Chicks will be dating when their young feathers shed off and adult ones have to grow. During this time they no longer are fed by the parents.
• The duration of this fasting depends upon the species. A long fast going up to 54 days is from king penguin for breeding till incubation. Another long fasting period going till 120 days is by emporer for same breeding purposes.


Penguins have seen the the ups and downs of the climate change and have tried to survive. It seems all their efforts are going in vain because none of this seems effective since their number is just continously falling. We need to make sure that their survival is not compromised. Whatever we do her has a direct or indirect impact on the climate making it hot day by day. A simple lifestyle will be able to have a better chance for all the creatures to see a cleaner tomorrow Renner that their survival is our survival. If they are under threat then we will also have to go through the unwanted trouble. So when where do penguins live? Comes to mind it should be a safe environment not a deteriorating place.

Frequent asked questions

1. Where do all the penguins live?

It a common misperception that penguins only live in Antarctica. They are spread all across the coastlines of southern hemisphere’s continents. The cold waters can attract them anywhere

2. Do penguins live in South or North Pole?

Penguins live in the south Pole majorly in Antarctica and other areas of the hemisphere

3. Are penguins mammals?

Penguins do not have any feature resemblance a mammal. They don’t feed their young ones with milk, they lay eggs, instead of hair have feathers on the entire body with no sweating pores. Their swimming resembles more of flying so they are birds.

4. What is special about penguins?

Penguins cannot fly and has lost the ability million is years ago. Their flippers are strong enough to make the excellent swimmers with another to dive deeper depths than any other bird and stay longer time.

5. What do penguins think of humans?

Penguins are not afraid of humans and will approach them easily. This is because they do not have any land predators which gives them idea of sanity from humans.

6. Do penguins attack humans?

In many cases the researchers or caretakers have been bitten or bruised by their animals. Penguins can attack in an attempt to protect their best. They can use their beak or bite or slap from their strong flippers.

7. What happens if penguin mate dies?

The mate is very important to produce offsprings. Their mate if any case dies than they have to find a new one because they have to produce the offsprings in the next breeding seasons.

8. Are penguins aggressive?

Penguins are not aggressive because they do not have any land predators so this leaves them peaceful. Just the crested penguins is often seen getting into fights.

9. Do penguins give pebbles?

To attract a female a male penguins searches the beach for the smoothest pebble and then gifts to her. If she likes the pebble then they will together build a mound out of it to make a home for nesting and lay eggs

10. Can a penguin be touched?

It is preferred that you do not touch a penguin even if you come in close proximity to them. If you are so close that the parent gets distracted it can easily bring damage to the chick or egg.

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