Temporal range: Late Danian-Recent, Possible Cretaceous origin according to molecular data[1][2][3]
Penguins collage.png
Penguin species of different genera; from top-left, clockwise: Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), snares penguin (Eudyptes robustus), little penguin (Eudyptula minor), yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes), gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), African penguin (Spheniscus demersus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Austrodyptornithes
Order: Sphenisciformes
Sharpe, 1891
Family: Spheniscidae
Bonaparte, 1831
Modern genera

For prehistoric genera, see Systematics

Penguin range.png
Breeding range of penguins, all species (aqua); some species have wider seasonal migration ranges

Penguins (order Sphenisciformes /sfɪˈnɪsɪfɔːrmz/, family Spheniscidae /sfɪˈnɪsɪd/) are a group of aquatic flightless birds. They live almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere: only one species, the Galápagos penguin, is found north of the Equator. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage and flippers for swimming. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sea life which they catch while swimming underwater. They spend roughly half of their lives on land and the other half in the sea.

Although almost all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not found only in areas with cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live that far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galápagos penguin, lives near the Equator.

The largest living species is the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri):[4] on average, adults are about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (77 lb). The smallest penguin species is the little blue penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as the fairy penguin, which stands around 33 cm (13 in) tall and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb).[5] In general today, larger penguins inhabit colder regions, and smaller penguins inhabit regions with temperate or tropical climates. Some prehistoric penguin species were enormous: as tall or heavy as an adult human. There was a great diversity of species in subantarctic regions, and at least one giant species in a region around 2,000 km south of the equator 35 mya, in a climate decidedly warmer than today.[which?]

  1. ^ Tambussi, C.; Hospitaleche, C. A. (2007). "Antarctic birds (Neornithes) during the Cretaceous–Eocene time" (PDF). Revista de la Asociación Geológica. 62 (4): 604–617.
  2. ^ Hackett, S. J.; Kimball, R. T.; Reddy, S.; Bowie, R. C. K.; Braun, E. L.; Braun, M. J. (2008). "A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History". Science. 320 (5884): 1763–1768. Bibcode:2008Sci...320.1763H. doi:10.1126/science.1157704. PMID 18583609. S2CID 6472805.
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference Ksepka was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ DK (2016). Animal!. Penguin. ISBN 9781465459008.
  5. ^ Grabski, Valerie (2009). "Little Penguin – Penguin Project". Penguin Sentinels/University of Washington. Archived from the original on December 16, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2011.

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