Why Do Penguins Waddle?

Even though waddling walk of penguins is not absolutely admirable, they are forcefully elegant. They can move smoothly in water but on land, they have to put extra effort to walk. One of the much-known facts of the waddling walk of penguins is the physique. The body mass of penguins’ is greater than any other little bird. The reason behind they are not airborne is also the weight of their body.

Almost every bird exhibit a kind of shuffle while walking. But, there is a difference in the style of waddling when it comes to penguins. Penguin being flightless bird along with the heavy body has a unique walking style when compared with other birds purely because of the body mass. Penguins are naturally prepared to waddle to walk with essential balance.

Waddling King Penguins
Waddling King Penguins

The Science Behind Their Walking Style:

The insignificant legs and big feet caused the bungling walk. The way they walk they can reduce the percentage of fails. During the to and fro motion, the energy crossing the sides are stored as impending energy. The potential energy which is stored is converted into kinetic energy and helps them rock and move.

Penguins’ save up to 80% of energy as the result of their walking style, whereas, human saves up to 65% of energy. Sometimes the same mechanism occurs when an antenatal woman walks.

The waddling walk is mainly an advantage to save energy and there is no excessive loss or effort to wobble. The similar gait mechanism of penguins is also found in pregnant women, obese folks, and toddlers.

Penguins Do Have Knees:

Penguin’s leg has collective elements of tibia, fibula, a femur, and knee. This composition is similar to that of a human’s leg. By nature the penguin’s leg is long. The superior bones of the leg are not detectable as feathers enclose them. Thus the Penguins appear to have a very undersized leg.

The energy spent by penguins in walking is double when compared to other flightless birds.

Penguin skeleton
Penguin skeleton

Having Knees Why Do Penguins Waddle?

It is believed that penguins’ legs were intended to swim faster and not to walk without any glitch effectively. Penguin’s legs are established somewhat back on their body, which is also a reason why they waddle. The position of the legs makes their motion dependent on much energy to move easily which leads them to wobble while walking.

The major reason why penguins waddle is that unlike other birds, penguins walk on their heel without resting the tip of the toes on land. The imbalance due to the heaviness of their body makes them tougher to walk easily and hence they waddle to make the functions simpler.

The physiology of the penguin species is made to swim like a pro where they spend 75% of their lives in water and the remaining on the ice or land. Penguins almost fly through the water with the help of their feet, tails, and flippers acting as major features to swim in the water.

A small group of penguins
A small group of penguins


The species of penguins are distinct but the waddling walks are common among every penguin. Their looks, features, and characteristics may vary from region to region, not the walks. It is quite a hard thing to see the endangered beautiful creature suffer due to climatic changes.

The interesting gait mechanism of penguins moreover lets us accustom when we walk on icy places. Nature has given them the ability to accomplish their living in extremely cold conditions. Even though the slip during the walk of penguins’ is worrying, the waddling penguins are always glorious and cute.




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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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