Chinstrap Penguin Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

There are many different kinds of penguins that live all over the world, and the chinstrap penguin is one kind. Come learn about chinstrap penguins, how they got their name, where you can find them, and some other cool facts about this bird.

What are Chinstrap Penguins?

Imagine walking across a large, freezing cold iceberg and seeing noisy, screechy penguins everywhere. You notice that they are black and white, like they are dressed for a fancy occasion, have pink feet, and look like they are wearing a hat that is held on by a strap. You are in the middle of a chinstrap penguin colony!

Chinstrap penguins are medium-sized, flightless birds that have a black line running under their chin. That line looks like a chinstrap that holds a hat on someone's head, which is how they got their name.

Chinstrap Penguin with Black Line Under Its Chin
Chinstrap Penguin with Black Line Under Its Chin

Chinstrap penguins can stand as high as 30 inches tall, which is about the same shoulder height as a Great Dane dog, and weigh around ten pounds. That's about the same weight as a child-sized bowling ball!

Chinstrap penguins really enjoy being around other chinstrap penguins and live in big colonies called rookeries. This is also where they build nests, lay eggs, and where their babies grow up.

Chinstrap Penguins with Babies in a Rookery
Chinstrap Penguin with Babies in a Rookery

Although they are world-class swimmers, chinstrap penguins aren't as graceful on land. But they've come up with a pretty cool way to get around on the icy ground. They sometimes use their stomachs like a built-in sled so they can slide from place to place, pushing with their flippers and feet.

Where do Chinstrap Penguins Live?

Chinstrap penguins live in the Antarctic and sub-antarctic areas at the bottom of the world. They are found on land and icebergs.

Because they live in such a cold place and swim around in cold water, they have special feathers that help keep them warm and dry, just like your jacket. Chinstrap penguins have about 100 feathers covering each square inch of their body, except their feet. Those glossy feathers grow very close together, keeping the icy water away from their body. They also have a thick layer of fat that helps keep them toasty.

Chinstrap Penguin Coming out of the Water
Chinstrap Penguin Coming out of the Water

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