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WHAT IS A PENGUIN?

Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds that live in the southern hemisphere. Short legs far back on their bodies give penguins an upright posture.


On land penguins usually walk or hop, and even toboggan along on their breasts, pushing with wings and feet. Making them quite entertaining to watch. They are excellent swimmers too. The flippers are their sole means of propulsion, the feet are trailed behind or used in steering.













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Penguins feed on fish, cuttlefish, crustaceans, and other small sea animals. They are found in flocks even at sea. On land the colonies often number in the hundreds of thousands. Natural enemies of the penguin include leopard seals, killer whales, and, in the case of young chicks and eggs, skuas.

At the mating season the penguins of the Antarctic region appear along desolate, ice-bound, or rocky coasts and hop, jump, waddle, and toboggan toward favored breeding sites. In many of these areas smooth paths have been worn over hard rock formations by countless generations; the birds use precisely the same paths as their antecedents to approach the rookery.

Often the paths seem to be the most circuitous and difficult routes to the rookery, and in some cases the sites are located many kilometers from the ocean. More northern species may be resident in the area of the rookery. The emperor penguin breeds in one of the world's most inhospitable regions during one of the coldest periods of the year, laying and incubating its eggs in temperatures as low as -62 C (-80 F).

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