Why Are There No Penguins in the Northern Hemisphere?

The Southern Hemisphere is home for some birds know as the penguins. Primarily they reside in the Antarctic; penguins can be found migrating to the southern tip of South Africa, Australia, and South America.

Many penguin species have lived in the northern hemisphere during the past. Several research centers tried to introduce penguins into the Arctic environment during the 19th century. However, due to the reason of predating, Penguins could not defend the eggs in their nest, and the entire populace died out after a couple of years.

The Great Auk became native to the Northern Hemisphere and were found across the shores of Greenland, Canada, Northern Europe, and Iceland. These species are not being directly related to the penguins of the Southern Hemisphere; the two species were quite similar.

Both south and north hemisphere species had similar colored feathers, were flightless, both were aquatic and lived in a cold environment. European explorers found their way to the Antarctic in the 19th century; they saw a flightless bird species which appeared exactly like the Great Auk. They called them the “penguins.”

Why are there no penguins in the Northern Hemisphere

The penguins situated in northern lives on the Galapagos Islands, it is 1100 km west of mainland Ecuador or South America. Some individuals crossed the equator and nest on the Galapagos. In the northern hemisphere, many islands are surrounded by sheer rocks, so penguins can’t land on them, so they are the habitat for dangerous predators, which primarily applies to the coast of South America. Great auks can nest in chasms where predators can’t reach them, but they are not able to resist the climatic change, that Emperors and Adelies penguins have to face. Both the Penguins are well adjusted to their specific conditions of life.

Penguins probably lived in the Antarctic and evolved because the weather was becoming colder. Penguins are better at surviving the cold than any land-based predator. They then managed to fill ecological niches and diversify from the freezing tropical waters.

A Final Word

Penguins are found in the Galapagos Island, which spans the equator. Some penguins also live in the northern hemisphere.

The reason penguins didn’t take the easy route to the North Pole where the waters are more suited to their ecological niche is that there are no large islands in the north of the Galapagos. So the island hopping of penguins stopped just in the north of the equator. If there were other small islands in the north of the Galapagos, then penguins would have had an “invasion route” through the Arctic waters.






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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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