(Latin spheniscclassae) – a family of flightless seabirds, the only one in the order of penguin-like. Only eighteen species are included in the group of penguins. All members of this family swim well and dive. Penguins are of ancient origin. Their area of residence is limited to the Southern Hemisphere. Most penguin species live between 45 ° and 60 ° south latitude. Antarctica and the nearby islands – this is the place where the largest number of these birds live.
The color of all individuals is almost monotonous: the back is dark, the chest and stomach are white. Truffles or colored feathers in some penguins complement their basic attire. The average body length of the penguin ranges between 60 and 70 centimeters, and the weight is between 5 and 6 kilograms. True, there are also larger species.
They spend a good half or even three fourths of their life in the water (which is facilitated by the structure and shape of their body). These amazing birds feed on squid, fish, small marine invertebrates. This feed makes it possible to accumulate fat reserves, which penguins consume during the period of incubation of masonry or molting (at this time they do not feed).
The word “penguin” was invented much earlier than the birds themselves were discovered.
Europeans called this name “the winged loon, living on the shores of the North Atlantic.” After the discovery of the true penguins, confusion arose. And even now the word English “penguin” denotes both penguins, and those wingless lions.
When they first saw the penguins, the Europeans took them for geese.
They were sailors from the Vasco da Gama team. Having met an unusual bird, they thought that this was a special kind of geese.
Penguins are a symbol of Antarctica.
It is true, but only five species of penguins have adapted to living in such harsh living conditions. It should be remembered that the aborigines – the indigenous inhabitants of Antarctica – are only the imperial penguins who spend their whole lives in these parts. Other penguins leave the Antarctic with the onset of autumn.
Penguins have a very special body structure, different from other birds.
Their body shape is streamlined (which facilitates easy movement through the water). The penguin’s sternum has a keel, which serves as a support for the powerful musculature. This is necessary for penguins for diving. All other non-flying birds have no keel. Penguins have dense bones (unlike other birds that have tubular bones that facilitate their flight).
Penguins live in colonies.
These settlements are huge, the number of birds in them can reach several million. The place for the nest is chosen in accordance with possible dangers: nests are made in shelters if there is a possibility of attack by ground predators. On the islands, penguins nest openly. According to scientists, penguins are the most social of all birds. However, in each rule there is an exception. So in this case. For example, magnificent penguins prefer to live in pairs, in the colony they enter very, very rarely.
The Imperial Penguin is the largest.
Absolutely. Its growth is more than one meter, and the weight reaches 45 kg (mainly due to fat stores).
The smallest penguin weighs only one kilogram.
It is a small penguin. In principle, the name itself speaks for itself. Their body weight can be from one to two and a half kilograms. The length of the body is 30-40 centimeters. They inhabit mainly the southern coast of Australia, as well as on the northern and southern islands of New Zealand.
The chicken of the imperial penguin hatchs in the winter.
It’s amazing, but living in harsh conditions, imperial penguins also multiply in winter, when the rest of the birds move from these places to warmer ones. The female lays only one egg, which the male hides from the cold in the abdominal fold. The male remains in the colony, and the female goes to feed in the sea. When a chick appears in the middle of winter, the returning female feeds him with half-digested food stored in the stomach.The male, who by this time loses more than half the weight, passes the mother’s chick and himself goes to the sea, where he spends a month and a half. It should be noted that the chick hatches from the egg naked and then over a few weeks overgrown with feathers.
Penguins spend most of their life in the water.
About 75% of the time, penguins are dedicated to the water environment. They have adapted to it so much that their wings are reminiscent of the fins of marine mammals, and almost all feathers are comparable to scales.
Penguins swim well.
And not just good, but excellent! They can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometers per hour.
The fastest way to travel is by “dolphin swimming”.
The essence of this “method” is as follows: penguins, then dive, then jump out of the water, that is, their behavior resembles the behavior of the dolphin. For exactly what they do, it is not yet clear: whether for speed, or to reduce resistance, or maybe to deceive their natural enemies.
Penguins dive well.
The specific gravity of their bodies due to heavy bones and the absence of subcutaneous air bags allows penguins to dive into the water to a depth of more than two hundred meters. And for example, the imperial penguins can dive to a depth of one and a half kilometers! However, it is not yet possible to find out what they are doing there.
On land, penguins keep the body upright.
They have short and thick legs, which are also referred back (that is, they are located behind the center of gravity). When driving, penguins also rely on the tail. They can walk only in an upright position and with small steps. If there is a need for faster movement, then they slide on the belly, pushing off the snow cover with their legs and wings.
Penguins lack sense of smell.
Absent or very weak, as, indeed, in all birds.
The eyes of penguins are perfectly adapted to the conditions of life in the aquatic environment.
They have a flat cornea of the eyes, so outside the water penguins are somewhat shortsighted. The contractility and stretchability of the pupil of the penguins helps them at a depth of 100 meters to quickly adapt to the changing conditions of the illumination of the water.
Penguins are sensitive to water pollution.
This is not surprising, especially when it comes to oil pollution. She (oil) scores these birds feathers and gets into their stomach. Water-repellent properties of feathers are lost, and penguins of completely depleted can be thrown ashore.