Where Do Penguins Live?
Contrary to popular belief, these cute little aquatic and flightless birds don’t just live on ice. Popular opinion holds that penguins live only in Arctic waters, but the truth is much stranger than that.
Why Do Penguins Live Near Water?
It is true that penguins need to live near large bodies of water because they spend most of their time there, swimming and hunting. Remember, penguins are flightless birds, so they depend on swimming for most of their long-haul activity. Excellent swimmers, penguins can swim for hundreds of miles without stopping for a rest. This is why penguins prefer to live on islands and in far off places that have few predators. This allows them to swim away from danger and stay close to their food source.
Where Did Penguins Come From?
Originally, all penguin species came from somewhere in the southern hemisphere, but they are not found only where it’s cold. In fact, very few penguins live way south in Antarctica.
At least ten species of penguin live in what is called the “temperate zone”, one species (the Galapagos penguin) lives as far north as the Galapagos Islands right on the equator.
Don’t get confused — these aren’t warm water penguins. Cold water flows up to the Galapagos from the Antarctic current, providing penguins the food and cold water they need to live.
There are also huge populations of penguins in Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and even South America. Unfortunately for those of you that live up north and want to see penguins, there are no penguins above the equator.
Here is a list of known penguin species and their habitat:
- King Penguin, Subartic islands, Tierra del fuego, South Georgia Island
- Emperor Penguin, Antartica
- Adelie Penguin, Ross Sea Region in Antartica
- Chinstrap Penguin, South Sandwich Islands, Antartica, South Orkneys, South Shetland, South Georgia Island, Bouvet, Belleny and Peter Islands
- Gentoo Penguin, Falkland, South Georgia, Kerguelen, South Shetland, Heard and Macquarie Islands and the Antartic Peninsula
- Little Blue Penguin, Southern Australia, New Zealand, Chatham Islands and Tasmania. Some reports in Chile
- Northern Little Penguin, Canterbury, New Zealand, nesting only on Banks Peninsula and Motunau Island
- Magellanic Penguin, Southern cone of South America. Coastal south Argentina and south Chile including the Falkland Islands.
- Humboldt Penguin, Coastal Peru and Chile in South America
- Galapagos Penguin, Galapagos Islands
- Jackass Penguin, South western coast of Africa.
- Yellow Eyed Penguin, New Zealand in the South-east coast of South Island, Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island and Auckland and Campbell Islands.
- Fiordland Penguin, Fiorland coast and Stewart Island/Rakiura
- Snares Penguin, New Zealand on the Snares Islands.
- Southern Rockhopper, The American Southern Rockhopper Pneguin lives in the Falkland Islands and islands off Argentina and southern Chile.
- Indopacific Rockhopper, Penguin lives in islands of the Indian and western Pacific oceans
- Northern Rockhopper, Northern Rockhoppers breed on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island in the south Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder found on St Paul Island and Amsterdam Island in the Indian Ocean
- Royal Penguin, Inhabits waters surrounding Antartica and breed only on Macquarie Island