Where are Penguins Found?
Seeing cute and cuddly penguins in a zoo, you might have wondered where are penguins found? You can visit your local zoo and ask them if they have any penguins in captivity or you can visit any of the locations where penguins are found in the wild.
Penguins are mostly found in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species of penguins found above the equator in Galapagos Islands. The two other places where you can see penguins living in a natural habitat are South Africa and New Zealand.
Penguins found in Galapagos Islands are a rare species that survives in the region because of cool water brought up by Cromwell Current. An endangered species, Galapagos penguins, reside mainly on Fernandina Island and the west coast of Isabela Island. There are smaller populations distributed throughout the Galapagos archipelago.
If you were in New Zealand, you would find the blue penguin which is the smallest penguin in the world. Also called the Little penguin, this species is just 35-43cm tall and weighs only 1-1.5 kgs. You will also see crested penguins in New Zealand and yellow-eyed penguins around the South and Stewart islands. These penguins are unique to this region and they are not found elsewhere.
South Africa’s Boulder Beach is one of the primary Jackass penguin colonies in Cape Town. The African penguins are unique to this region as they have markings on their face and body that set them apart from other penguins. With a colony of 3,000 penguins, you can easily find a penguin on this beach as they are not afraid of humans and can be approached easily.
If you were to venture as far as Australia, you will be able to see macaroni, little penguins, and royal penguins in this region. While royal penguins are seen only in Bishop Island and Clerk Island, the southern coasts and offshore islands will give you sights of little penguins and macaroni penguins.
Another location where penguins are found is Argentina. The Patagonian coast’s location Punta Tombo, you will see Magellanic penguins that have created their burrows under the sand dunes.
Île aux Cochons or Pig Island is a remote French island that had 500,000 breeding pairs of King penguins. This population has reduced to 60,000 breeding pairs because of several reasons such as climate change, resource scarcity, or disease.
Another factor that highlights the distribution of penguins is that the penguins that are larger in size tend to choose the Antarctic regions as their dwelling place. But the penguins that are smaller in size go for warmer climates as it improves their chances of survival.
How Penguins Evolved According to Their Location
Living in the harsh environment of Antarctica, penguins evolved to develop biology that is only suited for this region. Their flippers help them move skillfully underwater, the excessive fat on their body helps them survive the cold weather, and it acts as the source of energy in the months they fast.
Penguins are skilled hunters of fish when they are underwater and they can dive deep and for several minutes. Their feathers trap air bubbles that act as an insulating layer and also helps them exit the water with great force.
All these evolutionary developments mean that penguins have very less chance of survival elsewhere on the planet. While there are some species of penguins found in less cold regions near the equator, but those penguins species have also evolved to survive their surroundings best.
Why Can’t Penguins Swim to New Locations?
While penguins are great swimmers and underwater hunters of fish, swimming long distance in unfavorable conditions can become difficult for these birds. They have adapted to live in cold environments and as the water’s temperature rises, they are not able to maintain their bodily functions that are necessary for survival. Presence of sea-based predators also deters penguins from swimming to new locations.
The availability of food sources also dwindles as penguins move from place to place. Generally, the penguins near the equator prefer to eat fish as their primary food source while the penguins near the Antarctic region prefer to eat krill and squid.
Penguins have an evolutionary advantage in Antarctica as there are very few natural predators of penguins in the region. In other regions, penguins are at a risk from natural predators of the region like dogs, cats, and foxes. As it is extremely cold in Antarctica, very few animals other than penguins are able to survive there.
People often wonder why there are no penguins on the North Pole. That’s simply because there are so many predators in that region that penguins will not be able to survive there. Also, swimming to the North Pole is impossible for penguins because there are large stretches of warm water between the South and the North Pole.
If someone asks you where penguins are found, you can easily give them the answer from the information in this article. To sum up, penguins are not located only in Antarctica, they are found at several places in the Southern Hemisphere and near the equator in the Galapagos Islands. The population of penguins is not limited to the Antarctic region as they are also found in Angola, Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Namibia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Penguins are not found in the North Pole as it is impossible for them to swim there and any attempts to establish penguins colonies were met with failure. Today, you can also find penguins in popular zoos as they socialize easily and have long lifespans.
Do you have any thoughts or views about where penguins are found? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. If you have any questions, feel free to ask those too and our team will try its best to answer your queries.