How Long Do Penguins Live?

Penguins are fascinated by species of the earth. The life expectancy of penguins depends on the species. The average lifespan of penguins ranges from 6 to 30 years. The little penguins or the fairy penguins live up to 6 years whereas; the Magellanic penguin recorded with the life of 30 years.

However, the penguins that are in captivity have a longer life than those in the wild. Penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere in Antarctica and one species the Galapagos found near the north of the equator and also few species also live in temperate regions. Jackass penguins are penguins that live in Africa in a warmer climate.

Endangered African penguins
Endangered African penguins

The regions and the predators of the wild in penguin habitat also play a vital role in the lifespan apart from the biological enigma. There are around 17 species of living penguins. Below are the types of penguins and their estimated lifespan.

1) How Long Do King Penguin Live:

King penguins can live up to 20 years. They live in sub-Antarctic islands and also in a few neighboring temperate regions and Peninsula. King penguins are the habitat of valleys, beaches, slopes and ice-free regions that are close to the sea.

In the ice-free region, they are attacked by land predators, overfishing, oil spills, water pollution, human encroachment, etc. Thus the species are highly endangered and they live longer in captivity.

2) How Long Do Emperor Penguin Live:

Emperor penguins live up to 15 to 20 years. They are the only species that breed in the frigid Antarctic winter. They look similar to King penguins. Emperor penguins cannot live longer in captivity and the eggs are hard to hatch and chicks are hard to survive in the zoos even under utmost care.

The species is endangered mainly by climatic changes.

Emperor penguin and chick
Emperor penguin and chick

3) How Long Do Galapagos Penguin Live:

Galapagos penguins found in the Galapagos Islands and offshore waters areas which are high in the food source. They live for around 15 to 20 years and they are considered to be social.

In recent years the species are not found to live their expected longevity. There are several reasons for their short lifespans like human disturbances, climatic changes, predation, and starvation. Galapagos penguins breed 2 to 3 times a year.

4) How Long Do Fiordland Penguin Live:

Fiordland crested penguins live between 10 to 20 years. They are very nervous, medium-sized and are active mostly in the night. They are not found easily in the daytime. Fiordland crested penguins are the habitat of New Zealand.

It is one of the rarest species of penguins and the numbers are declining in the last twenty years.

5) How Long Do Humboldt Penguin Live:

Humboldt penguins live for about 15 to 20 years in the wild and around 30 years in captivity. It is a South American penguin species and mostly found in the rocky coastal regions.

The species have started declining because of the mining of guano deposits. Guano is one of the perfect places for the Humboldt penguin to nest.

6) How Long Do Gentoo Penguin Live:

Gentoo penguins are the habitat of sub-Antarctic islands and Antarctic Peninsula regions. Their life expectancy is up to 30 years.

They have a refined lifecycle to survive in the icy region. In average Gentoo penguins live around 13 years in the wild as there are a lot of life-threatening factors rising in recent years. They nest mostly in the rocky Antarctic region with good vegetation.

7) How Long Do African Penguin Live:

The lifespan of the African penguins is 15 to 25 years and up to 30 years in captivity. They are the habitat of Southwest Africa where you can find a lot of penguins swimming in the bays along with humans.

Their preferred nesting place is guano. African penguins are popular tourist attracting penguins and they have a natural tendency to adapt to the warmer condition. They are endangered by human disturbances, predators and guano mining.

8) How Long Do Macaroni Penguin Live:

Their lifespan is about 8 to 12 years in the wild and up to 20 years in the zoo. Macaroni penguins are said to be social animals and nest in the hunting favorable areas.

They live in the sub-Antarctic islands and rarely found in the northwestern Peninsula. Macaroni penguins are large-sized penguins different in appearance with the other penguin species.

Macaroni penguins
Macaroni penguins

9) How Long Do Royal Penguin Live:

Royal penguins live around 15 to 20 years in the wild. They are found in the rocky vegetated slopes or beaches of sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island and adjacent islands.

They are endangered due to human interruption to their habitat, pollution, and climatic changes. Royal penguins are medium to large-sized penguin species. They are said to be the largest of the crested penguins.

10) How Long Do Snares Penguin Live:

Snares penguins are the habitat of Snares Islands, New Zealand. The lifespan is around 15 to 20 years. They are medium-sized penguins.

They live in a protected area and are prohibited until there is special permission for research cases. The present population of Snares penguins is around 30,000 pairs. They come under the crested penguin species.

The predators of Snares penguins are sea lions and chicks are grabbed by skuas and giant petrels.

11) How Long Do Adelie Penguin Live:

Adelie penguins live around 10 to 20 years in the wild. They are the habitat of the Antarctic Islands. They nest on dry land even though they live on icy land.

Adelie penguins are found in large numbers when compared to the past. They are closely related to Gentoo and chinstrap penguins. But the climatic change impacting the sea ice is yet a threat to these species.

12) How Long Do Blue Penguin Live:

Blue penguins are found mainly in southern Australia and New Zealand. Their average life expectancy is six years. In captivity, they can live up to 20 years.

Little penguins/fairy penguins are the other names of blue penguins. They are the smallest of all living penguin species. Human interference, overfishing, pollution, oil spills, and predators are the threats of blue penguins.

13) How Long Do Rockhopper Penguin Live:

Rockhopper penguins live up to 10 years in the wild and they are found in the Falkland Islands, southern Chile, and southern Argentina. They are the smallest of the yellow-crested penguins.

Rockhopper penguins are endangered due to overfishing, oil spills, and climatic changes. They nest in rocky shorelines and tall grasses.

14) How Long Do Magellanic Penguin Live:

The average lifespan of Magellanic penguins is up to 25 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity. They are found in South America, coastal regions of Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands.

Magellanic penguins are closely related to Humboldt, African and Galapagos penguins. It is a mid-sized penguin species. Oil spills, overfishing, predators and climatic changes are the main reasons for the declined numbers.

15) How Long Do Chinstrap Penguin Live:

Chinstrap penguin’s life expectancy is 15 to25 years. They are the habitat of the Southern Pacific and Antarctic Ocean’s shores and islands. It is one of the most aggressive species of penguins.

Apart from the predator’s leopard seal and sea lion, Chinstrap penguin species are declining due to climatic changes and less abundance of the food sources.

Chinstrap penguin
Chinstrap penguin

16) How Long Do Yellow-Eyed Penguin Live:

The average lifespan of a yellow-eyed penguin is 23 years in the wild. They are the habitat of New Zealand. They are mid-sized penguin species.

Yellow-eyed penguins are endangered by temperature changes, reduction of regular breeding habitat, and the introduction of mammals as a predator in the region are the major reasons.

17) How Long Do Erect-Crested Penguin Live:

They live for around 15 to 20 years in the wild. Erect-crested penguins are the habitat of New Zealand. They are social animals and nest in the colonies of Rockhopper penguins. They live in the icy marine areas.

The reduction in the species is because of global warming, reduced availability of prey, oil spills, pollution, and overfishing.


The oldest penguins presently are said to be 20 years old where many don’t survive long. But in the wild, there is no accurate lifespan of the penguins recorded in the studies.

However, penguins in captivity are protected and observed to determine the lifespan. There are hopes for the progressive extent of the penguin species due to repairing and cleaning up of defects happening around the globe.


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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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