How Big are Penguins?

Scientists calculate the penguin’s dimensions by scaling the sizes of its bones against those of modern penguin species. They estimate that the penguin probably would have weighed about 250 pounds. The largest species of penguin living today, the emperor penguin, is approximately 4 feet tall and can weigh as much as 100 pounds by comparison.

The oldest species of penguins whose fossil bones were uncovered in the Antarctic were about 37-million-years-old. These species were the largest that was ever discovered as its size is about 6 foot 8 inches. The mountainous birds were the Godzilla of aquatic birds and would have dwarfed most of the adult humans. These penguins were called the “Palaeeudyptes klekowskii.”

Ornithologist Mayr has stated that the stature of the flightless penguins became smaller since they stopped the aerodynamics skills.  There are about 17 existing species of penguins. The height of these penguins differs by age and from species to species. They are as listed below:

  1. Adelie Penguin

Adelie Penguins

Adelie Penguin is the smallest species of penguins found in the Antarctic. They might look so cute and a bit clumsy on land as they are around 70cm-27.5 inches in height.

  1. African Penguins

African Penguins

African Penguins are also popularly known as the black-footed penguins and jackass penguins. They get their name as they are species of penguins confined to southern African waters. African Penguins are around 24cm-27 inches in height.

  1. Chinstrap Penguins

Chinstrap Penguins

Chinstrap Penguins live on large icebergs in the open ocean and also on the frigid, barren islands of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic regions. They grow up to 68cm-27 inches in height.

  1. Emperor Penguin

Emperor Penguins

Emperor Penguins are the heaviest and largest penguins of all living penguin species found in Antarctica. Emperor Penguins are around 1.15m-3.8ft in height.

  1. Fairy/Little Penguins

Fairy Penguins

Fairy penguins are also known as little penguins. Fairy Penguins are the world’s smallest penguins as they grow up to a height of only 43cm-1.7 inches.

  1. Fiordland Penguins

Fiordland Crested Penguins

Fiordland penguins are also known as the Fiordland crested penguin species. They are common to New Zealand. They grow up to a height of 17 inches tall.

  1. Galapagos Penguins

Galapagos Penguins

Galapagos Penguins are one of the smallest of the banded penguins. They are only found in Galapagos Islands from where they get their name. These penguins grow up to 53 cm-21 inches in height.

  1. Gentoo Penguins

Gentoo Penguins

Gentoo Penguins are long-tailed penguins. They are found in the Antarctic Peninsula and other numerous islands. These penguins are the world’s third-largest penguins reaching a height of 30 inches.

  1. Humboldt Penguins

Humboldt Penguins

Humboldt Penguins can live on land and in water. They are found in South American and are distributed along the coasts of Chile and Peru. They are medium-sized penguins that grow up to a height of 70cm-28 inches.

  1. King Penguins

King Penguins

King Penguins are the largest species of penguins. These penguins are found in the South Atlantic regions. King Penguins grow up to a height of 95cm-3.1ft tall.

  1. Macaroni Penguins

Macaroni Penguins

The Macaroni Penguins are one of the species of crested penguins found in the Sub-Antarctic regions. These penguins grow up to a height of around 35 inches.

  1. Magellanic Penguins

Magellanic Penguins

Magellanic Penguins live mainly in Chile and Argentina. These penguins are medium-sized penguins that grow up to a height of around 76cm (30 inches).

  1. Rockhopper Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins are one of the smallest penguins of the world when compared with other penguins. Adults stand tall at 52-55cm (about 20-22 inches).

  1. Yellow-eyed Penguins

Yellow-eyed Penguins

The Yellow-eyed Penguins are also known as Hoiho. Those penguins are found in New Zealand and stand up to 65 cm tall. They are the fourth largest of the worlds Penguins.

  1. Erect-Crested Penguins

Erect-crested Penguins

The Erect-crested penguins are crested penguins with vertical yellow feathers on the head, and they are only from New Zealand. The penguins stand between 65 and 70cms (25.5-27 inches) in height.

  1. Royal Penguins

Royal Penguins

The Royal Penguins are tallest species of penguins which can be found on adjacent islands and Sub-Antarctic Macquarie islands. Those penguins are standing up to 70cm (about 28 inches) tall.

  1. Snares Penguins

Operation Endurances Antipodes Island Resupply.
Three Erect Crested Penguin on the Antipode Islands.

The Snares Penguins are also known as the Snares Islands Penguin and the Snares Crested Penguin. These penguins are from New Zealand. The adult penguin stands between 50-70cms (21-27.5 inches).

A Final Word

Unlike most birds, penguins have flippers instead of wings. They cannot fly because of their weight, and on land, they do the waddling walk upright though when snow conditions are right they will slide down on their bellies.


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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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