This month, I have been on the most exciting trip. I have been to Antarctica to see some penguins!
I don’t know about you, but I love penguins, in fact they are probably my favourite bird. Up until now I have only been able to see them in the zoo. This year though, I have been saving very hard, along with Mum and Dad, and we decided to take a trip to see them in the wild!
Which penguins live in Antarctica?
Did you know, there are 17 species of penguin and they live all over the world. 8 of the species live in Antarctica and the two islands nearby, South Georgia and the Falklands. That’s almost half of all the species on the planet.
- Emperor penguins can only be found in
Antarctica. They are the biggest, they grow up to 122cm (4ft) tall. That could
be even bigger than you! They like to eat crustaceans, squid and fish and can
dive underwater to catch them for up to 18 minutes. That’s a really long time to
hold your breath!
Emperor penguins live for 15-20 years.
- King penguins are the second largest
penguin species, they grow to be 94cm tall and live for 25 years. Out of all
the birds in the world, King penguins spend the most time at sea. They can dive
for up to 9 minutes at a time to catch fish and squid.
My favourite thing about King penguins is that they have mid-afternoon naps!
- Gentoo penguins will grow to be between 50 and 90cm tall. They eat squid, fish and crustaceans. A fun fact about the Gentoo penguins is that the boys will give stones to the girls as a gift. They are also really fast; they can swim at speeds up to 22mph!
Gentoo penguins live for 15-20 years.
- Magellanic penguins are closely related to Galápagos penguins, Humboldt penguins and African penguins, which are found in other parts of the world. They grow to be 60-75cm tall and eat equal amounts of fish, squid and crustaceans.
They are shy around people and will hide in their burrows if anyone comes too close. Magellanic penguins live for 25 years which is quite old for a little penguin!
- Chinstrap penguins are named because they
have a black line from their head right round underneath their beak. They are
the most common penguins, with around 7 million pairs in the world. They grow
to be 68-76cm tall and eat fish and krill.
Chinstrap penguins can swim up to 18mph and live for 20 years.
- Adélie penguins grow to be between 46 and 71cm tall. Their favourite food is fish and krill which they catch near to the surface of the sea. Antarctica is the only place in the world they can be seen, and they live for 11-20 years.
- Macaroni penguins look really cool, they
have orange feathers across the top of their head. A very funky hair style! An
adult Macaroni penguin is 70cm tall and mainly eats fish, krill and squid.
Macaroni penguins live to be 15 years old.
- Rockhopper penguins are one of the
smallest penguin species. They are only 50cm tall. There are 3 types of
Rockhopper penguin: northern, southern and eastern. They prefer to live on
rocky and windswept shorelines which is where their name comes from. Rockhopper
penguins are really easy to identify too as they have bright yellow feather
They live to be about 10 years old and eat fish, krill and small crustaceans.
On my trip I was lucky enough to see 7 of these species! It was amazing to see them in their natural habitat. I learned a lot about the penguins I saw on my trip, but now I want to learn about every penguin in the world. I think I’ll ask for a book about penguins for Christmas.
I really enjoyed my trip, even if the weather was very cold! I had to make sure I had plenty of layers on, even with all my fur.
Have you seen any penguins at the zoo? What is the best animal you have seen in the wild?
Lots of love,