Please email or share this article!

35 Interesting Penguin Facts For Kids 2024 [With Pictures]

Cartoons have been made about them, as well as movies where they’ve shown off their dancing skills.

Although penguins probably aren’t dancing around on the ice, there are still many amazing things they can do!

Keep reading to learn some interesting facts about penguins.

What are the characteristics of a penguin?

Penguins belong to the bird family but they cannot fly. They have black and white feathers that make excellent camouflage, and they have a special layer of feathers which helps to keep them warm.

They spend half of their life on land and the other half swimming in the water, so their wings have changed to act like flippers which makes them great swimmers.

Penguins are known for waddling their feet when they walk, and they also slide on their bellies across the snow. Both of these help them move while saving their energy.

Where do penguins live?

Almost all groups of penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere, which is the bottom half of the Earth. There is one group, the Galápagos penguin, that lives in a different part of the world, but this is not very common.


When we think about penguins, a lot of people usually think they all live in freezing cold climates like Antarctica.

While some penguin specie do live there, most penguins live in warmer areas. Penguins have adapted for life in the water, and they spend a lot of their time in or near the ocean.

Most groups of penguins can be found in Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa.

What are the Different Types of Penguin Species?

There are eighteen different kinds of species in Penguin. Each species has unique characteristics, including size, coloration, and behavior.

Some of the penguin species:

Little Blue Penguin
Little Blue Penguin
  • The Little Blue Penguin has a blue-grey back and white belly, with slate blue feathering on their head and wings.
  • Crested Penguins have yellow feather crests on their heads.
Fairy Penguins
  • Fairy Penguins have blue-grey back and white belly and 16 inches tall, and weigh 1 kg.
  • Gentoo Penguins have a white belly and a bright orange-red beak.
  • Galapagos Penguins have a black back and white belly, with a distinctive black band across their chest.

What do penguins eat?

Most penguins eat krill (which is kind of like shrimp), fish, squid, and other types of sea life that they can catch while they swim in the water.

Do penguins have any predators?

Penguins have a few predators and these include sharks, orcas, and leopard seals. Humans used to hunt penguins for their oil and eggs, but because penguins are protected, this is now illegal.

Harbour Seal

How do penguins protect themselves?

One of the biggest ways that penguins protect themselves is by living in large groups.

Many predators will be less likely to attack if there are a lot of penguins around, and this also helps because there are so many of them keeping lookout.

Another way penguins protect themselves is by their special camouflage on their feathers which is called countershading.

penguin camouflage

Penguins have black feathers on their backs and white on their fronts, so if a predator is looking up from the water, like an orca or a leopard seal, they will have a hard time seeing the penguin because of the bright water surface.

Finally, penguins are excellent swimmers and can outswim a lot of their predators.

If they get close to land, they can jump out of the water at a high speed and quickly escape the threat.

Explorers first called them “Strange Geese.”

Strange Geese.
Strange Geese

The Galapagos penguin first bumped into the explorers who visited the Galapagos Islands in the 16th century. These penguins were mistaken for strange geese as they were unfamiliar with penguins. Later scientists realized that the birds were a penguin species and named them the Galapagos penguin.

Climate change is also a threat to the Galapagos penguin. Sea temperatures can impact penguins’ ability to find food, as their prey species may migrate to cooler waters. Efforts are being made to protect the Galapagos penguin.

Penguins don’t have teeth.

No, Penguins do not have teeth. They have small spines or barbs on the tongues and the roof of their mouths that help them grip and swallow their prey. Penguins do not chew their food; they use the powerful muscles in their stomachs to break down and digest it. Penguins are expert hunters and can dive to depths of up to 500 feet to catch their prey. Once they catch their prey, penguins use their barbed tongues and mouths to grip and swallow it whole.

Why are penguins called flightless birds?

penguins called flightless birds

Penguins are a group of flightless birds that have adapted to life in the water. As penguins cannot fly, they have developed a unique talent that allows them to swim and dive with incredible speed and agility. One of the striking adaptations of penguins is their ability to “fly” underwater. Penguins can swim up to 22 miles per hour and dive to depths over 500 feet. Penguins also have the ability to waterproof feathers that keep them warm and dry while diving.

Emperor Penguins can Hold Their Breath Underwater for an Average of 20 Minutes.

Emperor Penguins

Yes, Emperor penguins can hold their breath underwater for an average of 20 to 27 minutes. Emperor Penguins are the largest species of penguins. This adaption of holding their breath for so long helps them to dive to depths of over 500 meters in search of food. While hunting for food, emperor penguins can swim up to 8 miles per hour using their wings to propel themselves through the water. An Emperor penguin can consume up to 4.4 pounds of food in a single feeding session.

Why are penguins called business goose?

The Chinese word for penguin, 企鹅 (qǐ’é), is made up of two characters: 企 (qǐ) and 鹅 (é). The character 企 (qǐ) means “Business,” while 鹅 (é) means “goose.” When these two characters are combined, they create a word that literally translates to “business goose.” The reason for this translation is unclear, but it is believed that penguins, like geese, stand upright and have long necks. Chinese people use the term 企鹅 (qǐ’é) to refer to penguins without any reference to geese or business.

The Oldest Penguin Fossil

Aptenodytes patagonicus - King Penguin
Aptenodytes patagonicus – King Penguin

The oldest penguin fossil was discovered in 1982 on Seymour Island, off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The fossil was found by a team of paleontologists led by Dr. Ewan Fordyce from the University of Otago, New Zealand. 

The fossil was estimated to be about 61 million years old and belongs to a previously unknown species of penguin known as Waimanu Manneringi. This ancient penguin species was about the size of a modern-day rockhopper penguin, standing about 2.5 feet tall, and had a long beak with teeth, unlike most penguins.

Physical Characteristics of Penguins

Penguins come in various sizes, have black and white coloration, and have a thick layer of feathers to keep them warm. Their wings have evolved into flippers, and they have webbed feet that help them swim. Penguins can hold their breath for extended periods and dive to great depths for food.

Penguins Breeding and Reproduction

Penguin breeding and reproduction involve elaborate mating rituals and nest building. Female penguins typically lay one or two eggs, and both parents take turns incubating eggs and feeding chicks. Chicks grow and eventually grow feathers, leaving the nest to learn how to swim and hunt for food.

Quick Facts

Quick Penguin facts for kids

  • Penguins are considered to be skilled divers. It is believed that a penguin has dived more than 6,000 feet deep.
  • The feet of penguins are designed for extended walks. They are also developed in a way that allows them to alter course and brake underwater.
  • Penguins protect themselves by living in large groups and in remote coasts to protect themselves from animal hunters and attacks.
  • Penguins collect fish and other marine creatures underwater, which they then devour.
  • The tiniest penguin is about approximately 10 inches tall.
  • The oldest fossilized penguin in the world is 61 million years old.
  • Penguins are generally found in the Southern Hemisphere, from South America to New Zealand and Australia.
  • Penguins are considered to be the second most threatened bird group in the world. 
  • The African Penguin is considered to be the most endangered penguin species.

Some More Penguin Facts

  • Most penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • They spend half their life on land and half in the water.
  • Penguins eat krill, fish, squid, and other sea creatures.
  • Their biggest predators are sharks, orcas, and leopard seals.
  • Penguins can swim at speeds of over 20 miles per hour.
  • Whether you are familiar with penguins from nature shows, or tap-dancing movies, they are popular animals that many people know and love.
  • Penguins are excellent swimmers and are known for their belly slides and waddles. These fascinating creatures will continue to inspire stories and movies for years to come!
  • Now, let’s explore more animal facts! But before you do, one last thing. Can you name two other animals you might find around the North Pole or South Pole?


Leave a Comment