external image AnimatedPenguins.gifPenguins!!

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Scientific Classification


Penguins are aquatic, flightless birds that live mostly in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Penguins are part of the Animalia kingdom. There phylum is Chordata.The class of penguins is Aves and there Infra class is Neognathae. A penguins order is Sphenisciformes and its family is Spheniscidae. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have counter shaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sea life caught while swimming underwater. Penguins differ in size, shapes, color, and habitats. Many penguins do not communicate with other species of penguins. Because they are separated from one another.


Distribution & Habitat


Although all penguins are native to the Southern Hemisphere, they are not found in cold climates such as Antarctica. Only a few species of penguins live so far south. At least 10 species live in the temperate zone; one the Galapagos Penguin, lives as far as the Galapagos Islands, but this is only made possible by the cold, rich waters of the Antarctic Humboldt Current that flows though around these islands. Most penguins live in Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Penguins usually live on remote islands that are free of predators. Many penguins will isolate them selves from predators. Penguins will mostly live on islands, away from humans and other predators.


Different Species



There are about 22 different types of penguins in the world. The kinds of penguins include King penguin, Emperor penguin, Adelie penguin, Chinstrap penguin, Gentoo penguin, Yellow-eyed penguin. The penguins mostly live in colder climates but some have migrated to warmer climates to meet their specific needs. Some penguins have moved to warmer climates because food shortage or the need for more space. The penguins that stayed in colder places like Antarctica have more of a chance to explore and move to different areas. These penguins move in large groups and stay together for there whole life. But the penguins that live in warmer climates have to be careful because they might run into areas where they can't live. These penguins have mostly stayed on small warm islands. They live in Marcquaire & Campbell islands, New Zea land, Australia, and the Snare Island. they have been seperated from the rest of the world.


Diet



Penguins are mostly carnivores, searching the sea for small animals. The primary sources of food for penguins include krill, small fish, and crustaceans. But some penguins prefer to search the shores of an island. Most of the time penguins hunt for food during the daylight hours. Some do hunt for it at night though, especially when they supply seems to be dwindling. Penguins will dive deep into the water to find a food source if needed. The amount of food that a penguin needs depends on the overall size of the penguin. The larger the penguin the more food it will consume; and the smaller the penguin, less food will be consumed. It also depends on the type of year. When they are molting before mating they tend to eat less food. Penguins have amazing hunting skills that allow them to do very well when it comes to feeding.They are fast swimmers so they have no trouble at all catching up with their prey. They swallow the food whole too so they don’t have to take the time to chew as they move on to another one to feed on. They also have excellent eyesight even in murky waters. Most of the food supply for penguins is very slimy but they have spiny tongues that make it no problem. They also have very powerful jaws attached to their bill.




Dangers for a penguin



Penguins have many dangers. In the arctic, they must look out for seals, polar bears, whales, skua, and humans. When swimming penguins must keep look out for hungry seals, or whales that mistake the penguins for large fish, a seal, or smaller whales. Also penguins must watch out for seals. Seals get hungry and will go after a group of penguins.Sometimes the leopards seals hide under the ice berg until penguins start diving into the water for fish. On land skua(a type of bird) eats penguin eggs or young penguins if the nest/penguins was left unattended. Humans are another big threat, we kill penguins for the oils in their blubber. That is illegal but fisherman still kill them to get paid large amounts of money. Penguins have many threats in the water and on land. Global warming is another threat to life for penguins.The penguins up north are dying because the lack of snow and ice to live on.The lack of ice is also cause many other species to die, like polar bears, orcas, penguins.Penguins lives are at risk every day.



Water and penguins


Penguins are highly adapted to water. They spent about 75% of their lives in water! Some penguins will spend months at sea and only come onto shore to molt and breed. While in the water they swim, hunt for food, find mates, and play around. Penguins are very careful before getting into the water. The penguins wait and watch for any predators that might be lurking within the water. Some times they even wait for one young naive penguin to jump in the water....and then they wait to see what happens. If the penguin is seen then they all jump in and enjoy their time. Many times the penguin that has jumped in, is eaten and the rest of the penguins go to a different shore to go swimming. Penguins also use water to cool down from the hot sun.All sorts of penguin enjoy the water where ever they are!



Penguin Anatomy



Penguin are very complex mammals. The body of a penguin is tapered at both ends, which allows them to glide through water with ease. The flippers on a penguin act as a small paddle, and it also help them on land while they are sliding down glaciers. Penguin's legs are set farther back on the body, because it helps them stay balanced on ice, and prevents it from slipping on over. Many penguins slide on their bellies to get somewhere. They do this because it speeds them up and make them go faster. On their feet they are slow and take small, slow steps, and if they walked everywhere it could take them days to get where they want to go. The bill on the penguin is very strong.The design and shape of the bill has to do with its eating habits.For example small, short bills are mostly used to eat krill. In the mouth of a penguin features a gland that will take the salt of of the water so they can drink it. Many people ponder about why a penguin is black and white. Scientist believe the black and white pattern is used to hide its self in water; and to keep the penguin cold or warm.Even though some penguins look different they are all the same.



Hatching/ Caring of a chick




When two penguins come together they will mate for life or will separate after the chick is born. Then a baby penguin is born. The mother will leave while the chick is still in its egg, so the dad will have to sit on the egg.While the mother is away the dads play a very important role during hatching. The father will sit on the egg during below freezing temperatures. Later the mom will come back to her newly hatched chick and her mate. When all the mothers come their is a lot of noises. The father and chick will call out to the mother; the mother eventually hears the frantic calling and comes rushing over to feed the chick, and keep her/him warm. She also gives the dad a break so he can go out to sea for several months.While the father is away the mother is in charge, but the mom has many problems. Other penguins who have lost their baby's get jealous and try to take the chicks from the mother. The penguins will bite, scratch and attack the mother to get the baby penguin from her.









Link to hear chicks calling to mother






Pictures





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