Newsround's top seven penguin facts

  • 26 April 2017
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A year in the life of a penguin captured on camera (January 2016)

To celebrate World Penguin Day on Tuesday, read on to find out some of Newsround's top penguin facts and jokes...

Lots of species

It is thought there are as many as 17 to 20 different species of penguin.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption This is a magellanic penguin, which lives in more temperate climates, not in the Antarctic

For example, Gentoo penguins, King penguins, Adelie penguins, Magellanic penguins, banded penguins, emperor penguins... Phew! We could go on all day.

Penguins can't fly

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Flippers are no good for flying - but they're great for swimming!

Penguins are birds - but even though they have wings, they can't fly.

Their wings are specially adapted for swimming.

In 1620, French explorer called Beaulieu even thought that penguins were a type of feathered fish because of how well adapted they were to life underwater!

Some like it hot

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption These magellanic penguins are spotted taking a break in Argentina

Not all penguins live in snowy places like Antarctica. Some species like the Galapagos penguin live in warmer climates near South America.

Emperors rule

The emperor penguin is the largest penguin, standing at more than one metre tall when fully grown.

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Image caption These are the world's largest penguins

Unlike with many other species, it is actually the male emperor penguins who are responsible for looking after the eggs until the chicks hatch.

They are great swimmers, but aren't so nimble on the land. Emperor penguins shuffle along on their feet or slide about on their bellies.

Little fairies

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Image caption This little fairy penguin is being released back into the wild

The smallest penguin is called the fairy penguin. It is found quite commonly in Australia and New Zealand.

Cool colours

Ever wondered why they're black and white?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There is a very important reason that penguins are black and white

Their dark back makes them hard to see from above while they're in the water, which can help protect them from predators.

The black and white colouring also helps to hide them from predators like killer whales and leopard seals.

Walk this way

It turns out we could learn a lot from penguins, as Jenny found out.

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Why might it be a good idea to walk like a penguin? (January 2017)

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