161. Penguins.

Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living in the Southern Hemisphere. They are highly adapted for life in water.The are counter shaded and their wings have become flippers. Penguin’s swimming in water resembles the flight of a bird in air.

They spend half their lives in water and half on land. The largest living species Emperor Penguin is 3′ 7″ tall and weighs 75 pounds. The smallest Little Blue penguin (Fairy penguin) is just 16″ tall and weighs a mere 2.2 pounds.

The layer of air trapped within the soft plumage ensures buoyancy and protection from the ice cold water. On land penguins use their tails and flippers for balance and waddle on their legs or just go sliding on their bellies.This conserves the energy and makes the traveling faster. They jump with both legs to cross steep or rocky terrains.

The white belly camouflages the penguins from the predators looking from below, while the dark plumage on the back protects from the enemies above.

Penguins can swim at 6 to 12 km/hour but can reach 27 km/h while swimming to save their lives. Small penguins do not dive very deep but the adults can dive to a depth of 1800 feet, for more than 20 minutes.

Penguins have normal hearing ability. Their eyes are adapted for under water vision. They can control their blood flow to the extremities and reduce the loss of body heat. They huddle together to keep warm and make sure that each penguin gets a chance to be in the center of the warm pack.

They can drink salt water without any harm. The excess salt in the blood stream is filtered by Supra orbital gland and excreted from the nasal passage. Penguins form a monogamous pair for a breeding season.Their worst enemy is the leopard seal. Penguins feed on krill, fish and squids. Penguins are not afraid of humans and keep calm when we are more than 10 feet away.

Visalakshi Ramani


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