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Penguins - Order Sphenisciformes

Penguins - Order Sphenisciformes

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Penguins (Sphenisciformes) are flightless birds that have stiff wings and distinct coloration (black or gray feathers on their backs and white feathers on their bellies). Their wing bones are fused to form flipper-like limbs and enable the birds to dive and swim with great skill. Penguins have long bills that are laterally narrow. Their legs are short and positioned at the posterior of ther body. They have four forward pointing toes.

When on land, penguins hop or waddle. Those living in climates where snow persists, often slide quickly on their stomachs and use their wings and feet to direct and propel themselves. When diving underwater, penguins often launch themselves upward out of the water and then dive back beneath the surface. Some species can remain submerged for over 15 minutes at a time.


Southern Hemisphere including oceanic and coastal habitats. Antarctic and Sub Antarctic regions. Coastal South America and southern Africa.


Penguins are a group of birds that includes six subgroups and about 18 species. The most diverse of all penguins are the crested penguins, a group that includes the macaroni penguin, Chatham Islands penguin, erect-crested penguin and three species of rockhopper penguins (eastern, western and northern). In addition to crested penguins, other penguin groups include the banded penguins, little penguins, brush-tailed penguins, great penguins and megadyptes.

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