Are Penguins Amphibians?

Many people may have questions about penguins, whether they belong to the category of birds or amphibians because of their lifestyle living in both land and water. Here in this article, we are going to explain about whether penguins are amphibians or not. 

Let’s understand what amphibians are?

Amphibian in Water

Amphibians- ‘Amphi’ means ‘on both sides’. Amphibians are small vertebrates that need water, or a moist environment to survive. In simple words, the animals that live in both land and water. For example, frogs, salamanders, toads, etc., are considered as amphibians.

Amphibian on Land

Penguins also survive like amphibians, which means they lead their life both inland and water. But the real factor is they are marine birds, that are highly adapted to life within the marine (the region with water and land) environment. Penguins are flightless birds like Ostrich, Emu, etc., Instead of flying, they use their feathers for swimming.

Penguins in Water
Penguins on Land 

Similarities with Birds

Penguins are members of the Spheniscidae family, which is the category of flightless birds that live in the southern hemisphere of the world. Some of their organic features are the same as other birds like having beaks, forelimbs (wings), feathers, laying eggs and incubation of eggs. They have feet like swan and duck, which are very helpful for swimming.

Penguin Laying Egg

Dissimilarities with Birds

Penguins don’t have pneumatic bones (hollow, air-filled bones) like other flying birds, instead, they have solid bones which doesn’t help for flying. Penguins use their wings as flippers in flapping motion to swim easily and deeply. They have been recorded that they can swim as deep as 1775 ft underwater. The flapping motion of penguins underwater looks like they are flying.

 Penguin in deep underwater 

Habitat of Penguins

Due to their habitat style, they are always beside the sea, where they get their food. Penguins use a flapping motion for hunting and they are carnivorous, they hunt fish, squid and other aquatic organisms underwater. Penguins spend 80 percent of their time underwater and only use coastal part as places to rest.

  Penguins on Coastal Region

Amphibians vs Penguins

Amphibians Penguins
Amphibian eggs are soft-shelled Penguin eggs are hard-shelled
Amphibians are cold-blooded Penguin are warm-blooded
Amphibians have a three-chambered heart Penguin has a four-chambered heart
Amphibians respire through lungs and moist skin Penguin respire through lungs
Amphibians undergo metamorphosis (changes from larvae stage to adult stage) Penguins never undergo metamorphosis.
Amphibians lay 10 to 20,000 eggs at a time (depends on the subcategory of Amphibians) Penguins lay clutches of 2 eggs at a time
Amphibians lay eggs near ponds Penguins lay eggs in the ground
Amphibians make mud puddle nest, bubble nests penguins made their nests using hard stones    


A final proof of this discussion is, research on penguin DNA clearly proved that they belong to the category of birds, not amphibians because it doesn’t have similarities with the DNA of amphibians.

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I got interested in penguins from a young age and as I grew I realized that penguins are such fascinating birds. I made it a mission to create a website where all information about penguins could be accessed in an easy to read format.

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