Behavioural adaptations

Adult male penguins huddle together during winter. This helps them to avoid heat loss and survive until spring.

They breed during the winter so that their offspring reach independence in summer when more food is available.

Physiological adaptations

Males can go without food for around 100 days. This allows them to survive during winter when no food is available.

A penguin’s resting heart rate can slow down greatly during a dive so that it can conserve oxygen underwater and spend more time finding food.

Structural adaptations

Penguins have a short stiff tail. They can lean backwards and balance on their heels and their tail. This reduces heat loss from their feet to the ground.

The colour of a penguin’s body helps to camouflage it when it is swimming. From above, its dark back blends in against the sea and from below, its light front blends in against the sky.

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