Move over “Happy Feet”!
Yes, as Emperor penguins, you’re very regal. And we know you’re the biggest of the 17 species of penguins – standing proud and tall at four feet high.
But, you see, we want to talk about your smaller cousins. Other Antarctica penguins like Chinstraps. Peppy little Adelies. And shy Gentoo penguins.
These other penguins are the ones people usually see when they visit the Antarctic on an expedition cruise.
Adelies are the really cute ones.
They’re named after Adelie, wife of the French explorer Jules Dumont D’Urville, who first discovered them in 1840 on the Antarctic coast. The smallest of the Antarctic penguins, they’re only 18 to 24 inches tall, and they live on rockier parts of the Antarctic continent (unlike the Emperors, which live on ice).
Adelies are fun to watch and put on quite a comical show – hopping around, marching one after the other along snow banks, and sledding and sliding down hills on their bellies.
You can recognize Chinstrap penguins by the narrow band of black feathers which stretches from ear to ear, just below their chin. They grow to about 28 to 30 inches tall.
Like Adelies, these Antarctic penguins build their nests by scraping the ground and lining it with pebbles – and they often steal pebbles from a neighbor’s nest. But unlike other penguin species, where the stronger chick wins out when feeding, Chinstrap parents treat both chicks that hatch equally.
Sporting bright orange beaks and feet, Gentoos are the biggest of the three species, standing 30 to 35 inches tall. These penguins are the fastest underwater swimmers and can rocket through the water at speeds of 17 mph.
But Gentoos are more timid, retreating if other penguins act boldly toward them. They’re also considered a threatened species, with only about 320,000 breeding pairs worldwide.
Other places where penguins live?
Antarctica may be the best place to see penguins.
But you can also see penguins in the wild in the Galapagos, South Australia’s Kangaroo Island and Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.
Read more about penguins
If you’ve got a real crush on penguins, you might like these books.
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All photos are © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase (except images of Emperor and Boulders Beach penguins)