By Rahimu Jabendo via the UAH forum
Penguins are some of the most recognizable beloved birds in the world. They are amazing because of their physical adaptations to survive unusual climates and live mostly at sea. Today, we explore some special facts about the cutest bird in the entire planet.
1. The number of existing penguin species is debated but estimates fall in the range of 17 and 20. 17 of these species are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.
2. Penguins can drink salt water because they have a supraorbital gland located above their eyes which helps them filter the salt from the water.
3. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall.
4. Though penguins are birds, they lost the ability to fly millions of years ago, but their powerful flippers and streamlined body make them very accomplished swimmers. The fastest specie is Gentoo Penguins, which can reach swimming speeds of 22 mph.
5. A penguin’s wing act the same way while it is swimming as a bird do while it is flying. So penguins essentially fly through water. 😀
6. Penguins are one of the most publicized species of animals that form lasting homosexual couples. Male penguins have severally been observed having sex with other male penguins.
7. Penguins black and white plumage serves as camouflage while swimming. The black plumage on their back is hard to see from above, while the white plumage on their front looks like the sun reflecting off the surface of the water when seen from below.
8. Unlike most birds which lose and replace a few feathers at a time, penguins molt all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called ‘catastrophic molt.’
9. Parents and chicks use their good sense of hearing to locate one another in crowded colonies. When mothers lose their chick, they sometimes attempt to ‘kidnap’ another mother’s chick.
10. Unlike other birds, male penguins incubate the female’s eggs. Emperor Penguin males incubate the female’s eggs for 2 months in the winter without eating while females are at sea. During that time males live off their fat reserves and may lose half of their body weight. When the females return shortly after the eggs hatch, they switch parental duties, and the females fast while the males go to sea to replenish their fat stores.