Group of penguins walking in the snow

Penguins are birds, but they can’t fly.  Instead, they spend most of their lives in the ocean.  Penguins are strong, fast swimmers, and their wings are flippers.  Underwater, the penguin moves its flippers as other birds move their wings.  This makes it look as though the penguin is flying through the water.  They come on land to raise their young, and they form huge groups called colonies.  Some colonies include millions of penguins!  When they are on land they waddle on short little legs, and when they get tired of walking, they slide on their bellies.  One fun thing about penguins is that they have black coats with white chests, so they always look like they are dressed up in tuxedos for a fancy party!

photo of baby penguins huddling together
photo of three adults penguins caring for one juvenile penguin
Did You Know?
  • To stay warm, penguins in cold areas often huddle together, sometimes by the thousands!
  • Emperor and king penguins both have golden-orange ear patches.
  • Antarctica is covered with snow and ice all year long.  Emperor penguins are the only animals that spend the winter on the open Antarctic ice.
  • Penguins have three clawed toes on each foot.  Their toes help them grip ice and slippery rocks.
  • Chicks will try begging from any adult, but only their parents will feed them.