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Facts About Penguins for Kids

Instructor: Kristina Washington-Morris

Kristina has taught a variety of elementary classes and has a master's degree in elementary education.

Most birds use their wings to soar through the sky. Penguins use their wings for a very different activity though. Want to know what penguins do most of their days? Read this lesson to find out, and learn other interesting penguin facts!

What Is a Penguin?

Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds. Aquatic animals spend most of their time living in water. Many birds fly by using their wings, but penguins use their wings to swim. A penguin's wings are more like flippers. This makes penguins excellent swimmers.

A Group of Penguins
penguins

What Are Some Features of a Penguin's Body?

A penguin's white belly and black back make it a very recognizable bird. Penguins almost look like they have on tuxedos, but they don't go to fancy parties. Their coloring helps them blend into the surrounding area. When they are swimming in the ocean, their black backs look like waves and their white bellies look like sunlight reflecting through water. This helps to protect penguins against predators, or other animals that might hunt them.

A penguin's body is shaped like a wide rocket. This shape makes it easy for penguins to dive and swim. It doesn't make it easy to walk though! Can you imagine trying to run quickly with a rubber band around your ankles? A penguin can't move its feet very far forward. That's why penguins waddle. Some types of penguins slide on their bellies when they're on land or hop from rock to rock to get around.

Penguins on a Beach
Penguins on the Beach

Where Do Penguins Live?

Penguins are found in both warm climates, in places like the coast of Australia, and cold climates, in places like the Antarctic. Some types of penguins are known for living in the water three-quarters of their life. They live near oceans in the southern hemisphere of the world, or the bottom half of the globe. Penguins do spend some time on land though. They mate and raise their babies out of the water.

What Do Penguins Eat?

Penguins are carnivorous birds, which means they eat other animals. A penguin's diet includes fish, crabs, krill, and other small sea creatures. Penguins don't have teeth, but the inside of their mouth is rough, kind of like spiky sandpaper, which helps keep wiggly fish from escaping.

What About Baby Penguins?

Penguins can lay one or two eggs after they mate. Some penguin species make nests of rocks for their eggs, while others don't make nests at all. Male and female penguins have to work together to keep their eggs warm and protected. They roll their eggs onto their webbed feet and keep them safely tucked under thick rolls of warm stomach fat known as a brood pouch.

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