With their tuxedo-like coloring, awkward Charlie Chaplin waddle and stubby outstretched wings, the penguin is a Wild Kingdom fan favorite. And for good reason ... they are cute and cool! Just don't look for them at the North Pole. All 17 species of penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.
Get to know the king, gentoo and rockhopper penguin.
Did You Know?
Serious Swimmers Only, Please!
Michael Phelps, watch out! While most humans swim underwater at around four to seven mph, we gentoo penguins can reach top speeds of 22 mph. And when that’s not fast enough, we “porpoise” by jumping out of the water. It’s a move that helps us get away from predators.Tweet this Fact
Top Hat & Tails Not Required
We don’t wear tuxedos to make a fashion statement. Our coloration helps camouflage us while swimming. From above, our black backs blend into the dark ocean water and, from below, our white bellies match the bright surface lit by sunlight. This helps us avoid predators, such as leopard seals, and hunt for fish unseen.Tweet this Fact
I’m All Ears
Can you hear me now? While we don’t have visible ears, we do have very good hearing. An ear canal under our feathers allows us to hear on land and under water. Hearing is very important to us so we can zero in on our mates or chicks within a colony that could have 80,000 or more birds.Tweet this Fact
We Don’t Just Waddle!
Okay ... we admit it ... we walk funny. But in addition to waddling, we can hop and slide on our bellies. We can’t fly, but our wings evolved into powerful flippers that allow us to move through water with ease. We’re the fastest swimming and deepest diving species of any bird!Tweet this Fact
We’re birds, so we don’t have teeth ... only beaks. Our tongues are special, though. They have barbs that point backwards, helping us swallow slippery fish, squid and krill.Tweet this Fact
Plan to Celebrate!
Did you know we have our very own day? That’s right ... April 25 of each year is World Penguin Day!Tweet this Fact
Special thanks to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium for hosting Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.