Gentoo 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 types of penguins that live in different areas of the world. This lesson will teach you about Gentoo penguins, where they live, what they eat and some fun facts about them.

What are Gentoo Penguins?

Imagine exploring an area of land just above the Antarctic Circle! You are near the bottom of the Earth and are making some very interesting discoveries! Suddenly, you see a penguin, but it's not just any penguin! It's a Gentoo (pronounced JEN-too) penguin! A Gentoo penguin is the third largest type of penguin, has a yellowish-red beak, a black head with white marks above each eye, and a long tail.

Gentoo Penguins
Gentoo Penguins

These birds live about 15-20 years in the wild and weigh around twelve pounds.

A Gentoo penguin's long tail swishes along behind it when it shuffles around on land, but is tilted up when it swims. Shuffling along on the ground isn't the only way they move around on land. They can also lay on their stomach and glide on the ice, which is called tobogganing. A toboggan is a sled used to slide over ice, which is exactly how Gentoo penguins use their stomach!

Though they are slow and clumsy on land, Gentoo penguins are graceful underwater! They have wings, like other birds, but these wings aren't built for flying. They are more like flippers and are built for swimming. In fact, the Gentoo penguin is the fastest swimmer of any diving bird, and can go as fast as 22 miles per hour! They are the racecars of the penguin family!

Gentoo Penguin Swimming
Gentoo Penguin Swimming

Gentoo penguins live in groups, called colonies, are very social, energetic and like to inspect new things. They are also noisy and will honk to 'talk' to each other.

Where do Gentoo Penguins Live?

Gentoo penguins live on islands and a peninsula, which is a piece of land that has water on three sides, just above the Antarctic Circle. The Antarctic Circle is at the bottom of the Earth and includes the South Pole.

Gentoo Penguin Colony
Gentoo Penguin Colony

These penguins build nests on the ground to protect their eggs. It is built in a circle and made out of anything available, which includes rocks, feathers, grass and sticks. The mother penguin lays a group of two or three eggs, called a clutch, and the mother and father penguin take turns keeping those eggs warm until they hatch.

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