Where Do Penguins Live | Habitat and Distribution

Penguins are purely social birds. They gather around in large breeding colonies each consisting of thousands of individuals. These colonies are extremely noisy and often they take to the water in flocks.

Where Do Penguins Live

Penguins Geographic Range

  • Except Galapagos penguin all penguins are found in the southern half of the world. Galapagos penguins exclusively live in the north of the equator. Contrary to popular belief penguins are thought to be the birds of the Antarctic however the fact is that half of the 17 species never live in Antarctica.
  • These flightless birds are widely distributed and many species are found among 45 and 60o south.
  • Of all species seven of them make homes on the mainland and islands of southern New Zealand; other remaining species breed along the subtropical coasts of South Africa and South America.
  • Antarctica hosts only four penguin species; Adelie, emperor, chinstrap, and Gentoo penguins. Out of these adelie and emperor penguins are known to breed in Antarctic all year-round.
  • The largest species emperor penguin lives 66o to 78o south latitude. They seldom go beyond Antarctic but migrating birds do fly near the Falkland Islands, southern New Zealand, and southern South America.
  • Macaroni penguins mostly breed on Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic, and subantarctic islands. They stay in subantarctic waters in non-breeding season.
  • Little penguin is distributed over the southern coast of Australia; offshore islands and the coastal New Zealand.

See also: Penguin Facts For Kids

Photo Courtesy: www.gdargaud.net
Photo Courtesy: www.gdargaud.net

Penguins Habitat

  • Penguins are always seen diving underwater, catching fish, squid, and crustaceans. They spend almost all the time at sea. As with marine mammals, penguins also go ashore to look after their young to breed and to take rest a while.
  • Penguins gather around in large colonies and these colonies are within a few hundred yards of shore. King and Gentoo penguins build colonies 2 mi (3 km) inland.
  • Penguins build homes on ice sheets and snowfields of Antarctica. Here male emperor penguins typically cradle their eggs on their feet instead of carrying them to a nest. Emperors breed in the famous equatorial islands off the coast of Ecuador.
  • Generally penguins breed in open lands, sometimes in level terrain but mostly beneath coastal cliffs. Macaroni and chinstrap penguins typically nest on rocky slopes.
  • Gentoo penguins build nests between mounds of tussock grass; all penguin species are clever enough to nest in protected areas and thus they often breed either beneath bushes or in underground burrows.
  • Macaroni penguins nest on rough, steep terrain with little or no vegetation at all such as scree slopes and lava flows.
  • Yellow-eyed penguins nest from sea level to elevation of 820 ft (250 m) on sea-facing, forested slopes and cliff tops, usually among dense forest vegetation. Perhaps they like to breed in shady forests not to get overheated.
  • Little penguins (Eudyptula minor) make homes in habitats like temperate inshore waters; they are mostly seen in estuaries and bays. They often breed in promontories, secluded bays, at the base of cliffs, or islands. Little penguins fancy living in flat areas with protective vegetation. They nest in caves, under mounds of tussock-grass and also under rocks. They are also adapted to living around human houses and will if needed use artificial burrows.
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