Where do Penguins Live? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

Penguins are really cute and star in lots of movies, from 'Happy Feet' to 'Madagascar'! But where do penguins really live? This lesson will teach you all about the habitats of different kinds of penguins.

What Are Penguins?

Penguins are flightless birds that come in lots of shapes and sizes. Like most birds, they lay eggs and have feathers and wings. There are about 18 different species, or types, of penguins. Penguins make their habitats, or homes, in many different places and climates depending on the type of penguin.

Penguin Habitats

Who is a penguin's favorite relative? Aunt-Arctica!

This is a silly joke, but is it true? Let's learn a little bit about where different penguins live.

All penguins live in the southern hemisphere. This means that they all live south of the equator, an imaginary line that divides the globe by half into a northern and southern part, or hemisphere.

The southern hemisphere is the area underneath the red line, which represents the equator.
World map with equator

Most penguins live on islands with few land predators, since they cannot fly to get away from danger. Islands are also surrounded by water, where the penguins spend a large part of their lives, swimming and hunting fish to eat. Most species of penguins live in one of two types of environments: temperate or subantarctic climates.

Temperate Islands

Temperate island habitats are found between the tropics and the Arctic or Antarctic. Temperate climates are usually moderate, meaning that they do not get very hot or very cold. An example of a penguin that lives in a temperate climate is the Royal penguin, which lives on several different islands off the coast of New Zealand.

Subantarctic Islands

Subantarctic islands are islands that are located directly north of Antarctica. The weather on subantarctic islands is much colder than on temperate islands. To survive, penguins that live in these areas tend to be fatter and eat more than their warmer climate cousins so they can stay warm in the cold weather. One penguin species that lives on subantarctic islands is the King penguin.

Extreme Penguin Habitats

There are also a few species of penguins that live in either extreme cold or surprisingly warm places.

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