Do Penguins Have Fur or Feathers?

The penguin lovers usually ask us that do penguins have fur or feathers. That is why in this article we will provide you with some vital and rarely acknowledged facts about these birds.

Penguins are the flightless birds which commonly found in Polar Regions like Antarctica. They have the perfect adaptability to bear the thrilling cooler climate there. Penguins astonishingly adapted to water life.

Penguin spreading Feathers
Penguin spreading Feathers

There are two layers in the skin of the penguin, i.e., a fat layer as well as a feather layer. The fat layer is also known as blubber which is quite thick and benefits the penguins in remaining warm in the thrilling circumstances. So, it proved that penguins have feathers. But there is no fur in the body of the penguins.

But what they do with it? How many feathers do they have?

Well! To know the answers to all your queries read the below article in which we will provide you all the relevant info about the feathers of the penguins and their role in the life of these birds.

What Is the Role of the Feathers in the Body of the Penguin?

The feather belongs to the top layer of the penguin’s skin that helps in keeping their body warm. The feathers are waterproof and windproof also. To understand deeply about the feathers, you have to aware of the composition of the feathers first.

There are two parts of the feather in penguins, i.e., a hard part and a downy part. The downy part is the closest to the body of the bird and traps the layer of air. The layer of the air acts as a protecting ‘cushion’ amongst the penguin body and the icy air. During the warm day, the birds do the ruffling of the feathers to disrupt the protecting air layer for cooling down.

During the swimming inside the ocean, the pressure of the water turns the feathers in contradiction of the body and diminishing the air layer for decreasing the protecting effect. But, a penguin keeps themselves warm due to the blubber layer. As soon as the penguin comes out of the water, their feathers rebound into place, and the layer of the air gets re-established.

How Do the Feathers of the Penguins Look?

You can see the feather’s part from the outside, but it is tiny and stiff. The feathers of the penguin overlay each other and are thickly packed. There are around 70 feathers in one square inch on the body of the penguin. It means that there are 11 feathers for every square centimeter that is more than the feathers which other birds possess.

Penguin spreading feather in water
Penguin spreading feather in water

Why Is Preening Important for Feathers?

In the day, the penguins do the preening which comprises combing, cleaning, and oiling of the feathers. It helps in making the feathers waterproof. The oil which is spread out on the feathers of the penguins comes out of the gland that located in the tail’s base. Oil is taken by chafing the beak over the organ. At that time, it spread out over the wings. The oil does not merely help in the insulation; however, it also decreases friction that benefits the penguins in gliding effortlessly on the water.

Before the preening, the bird removes the water and dirt from its feathers and readjusts them. After finishing, the penguin begins the oiling of the feathers. Preening is a crucial job for a penguin which can do at any time of the day. They can do it on land, and also in water.

How the Process of Molting Affects the Penguin’s Feathers?

The maximum number of penguin species molt one time in a year, but Galapagos penguins molt two times in a year. The feathers of the bird come off in spots. At the time of molt, the new feathers develop below the old ones. As soon as the new feathers are prepared they move out the old ones. But this entire process does not occur in one time. The feathers come in the patches.

How Do the Feathers of the Penguin’s Feathers Help in Keeping Their Body Warm?

There are 100 feathers in one square inch of the body of Adélie Penguins which is the highest density in any other living birds on this earth. Their feathers are cup-shaped, short and overlay nearby to create a waterproof layer for the body. The bottom part of the feather possesses the downy clusters which trap the hot air near towards the penguin’s skin. Adélie Penguins too have a coating of down developing below the outline of feathers, in addition to a thick coat of fat below their skin which more benefits to protect their bodies from the cold environment.

What Occurs if the Penguins Damage or Lose Their Feathers?

Penguins follow the process of preening for keeping their feathers in right condition; however, the feathers do turn out to be blanched and extra hard due to the 24 hours of continuous sunlight in more than 4 to 5 months in the summertime.

Every single year, afterward the nesting period, Adélie Penguins do the molting in which they have to lose their feather, and the new ones grow in its place. The new feather develops below the old one and soon pushes it out from its position. During the process of molting the penguins do not go in the water or eat food since they are not protected against the chilly water till the molting procedure finished. It takes around 15 to 25 days for completing the molting process and at this time this flightless bird stays on the surface of the ice. There are very few Adélie Penguins that select land for the molting process.


So, it is clear now that penguins do have feathers which are glossy and evenly overlay to create a thick layer of the shield. The feathers of the penguin are particular as they are broad, short and spread out very carefully. These features aid them in keeping the water far from their skin. The feathers to possess tiny clusters over the shafts that upsurge the insulating properties of them.

The role of the feathers is essential for the survival of the penguins. We think you also agree with us in this viewpoint.

The feathers of the penguins not meant for flying purposes. Their softness offers waterproof protection which traps the air in their bodies. The feathers give them additional buoyancy in icy oceans. The feathers with the dark color may also absorb extra sunrays for keeping the penguin’s body warm. To decrease the quantity of heat lost while coming in contact with the snow, penguins lean over their feathers with the tail for holding the ground more firmly.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading the above info about the penguin’s feathers and their benefits. If you want to ask something more about the feathers of penguins then, you can write to us in the below comment box. We will surely provide you the relevant info soon.


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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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