17 Adorable Penguin Species

Do you know that there are 17 extant species of penguin. Each species unique from the others. But they share a common thing — All of the species live in the Southern hemisphere. Majority of these adorable penguin species are found in Antarctica. While a few species are found on the coasts of Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands and South America.

Adelie Penguin

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The Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is the smallest and one of the most common of all Antarctic penguin species. They can be found forming colonies on islands, beaches and shores all around the Antarctic coast. On average, these medium-sized penguins measure 72.2 cm (30 in) and weigh 5.4 kg (11.02 lbs.) The species is easily recognized by the white ring around its eyes and a tail that is longer than that of other species. It also has a red beak, but the tip of it is black. Population: 2.5 million pairs.

African Penguin

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The African or Blackfooted Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) mainly live and breed on islands off the coasts of Southern Africa. African penguins have a black upside down U-shape of their neck with a black chin and face patch separated from the crown by a broad white band. They have black speckles on their chest. Adults measure 62 cm (2.4 ft) in length and weigh about 3.40 kg (7.5 pounds.) The species is currently recognized as “vulnerable” with an estimated world population of around 70,000 breeding pairs.

Chinstrap Penguin

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The Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) is arguably the most beautiful of penguins. They often live on large icebergs on the open ocean in the Antarctic region. These medium-sized penguins are easily recognised by their white faces and the fine black line running under the lower part of the chin. Adults measure These medium-sized penguins measure about 2 feet tall (61 cm) and weigh about 4.5 kg (10 pounds.) Chinstrap penguins are the most common penguins with a population of about 13 million.

Emperor Penguin

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The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is found on the Antarctic peninsula and southern islands. Breeds during the Antarctic winter from March to December. The species is bigger than any other living penguin, standing up to 1.1 m (27 inches) tall and weighs about 36.5 kg (80.5 pounds.) It is distinguished by its size and the orange “glow” on its cheeks. Population: 7 million pairs.

Erect-crested Penguin

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The Erect-crested Penguin (Eudyptes sclateri) is a fairly known penguin species found only in the New Zealand Subantarctic region. These adorable penguins can be identified by the upright yellow feather plumes of their crests. One of the largest of the crested penguins, it stands about 50 cm (1.64 ft) tall and weighs up to 4 kg (8.8 lbs.) World Population: 170,000 breeding pairs.

Fiordland Penguin

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The Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) is the most timid of the crested penguins. The species is endemic to New Zealand. It is easily distinguished by its sulphur-yellow crest running above the eye and ending in a dropping plume. The head, throat and upperparts are black, and underparts are white. The species measures about 55 cm (1.8 ft) and weighs about 4 kg (8.8 lbs.) World Population: 3,000 breeding pairs.

Galapagos Penguin

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The Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. The species is distinguished by its relatively large black bill and narrow white line around the face. Galapagos Penguins are the smallest of the South American penguins. Full grown ones measure about 50 cm (1.65 ft) and weigh about 2 kg (4.5 lbs.) World Population: less than 1,000 breeding pairs.

Gentoo Penguin

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The Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) live on many of the islands of the Antarctic region but the main colony is on the Falklands. They are characterised by a white patch around and behind the eye that joins on the crown. They have a reddish orange bill and orange feet. They are about 80 cm (31.5 in) and an average weight of 5 kg (11.01 lbs).

Humboldt Penguin

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The Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) is endemic to Northern Chile & Peru. Similar to Magellanic Penguins, but lacks the second dark breast band and has a wider white band around the head. The eyes are reddish brown, and the bill is slightly larger than that of Magellanic penguins. Adults average length of around 70 cm (27.5 in) in height and an average weight of 4 kg (8.8 lbs). The total world population currently stands at around 12,000 breeding pairs.

King Penguin

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The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second largest penguin and similar in appearance to Emperor penguin. Their population is restricted to the sub-Antarctic belt. They have orange spots near their ears and on the neck. Cheeks are dark orange. The belly is white and the throat is grey-white. Full grown average 12 – 14 kg (26.5 – 30.86 lbs), and an average length of 90 cm (35.4 in). World Population: 2,000,000 breeding pairs.

Little Penguin

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The Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as Little Blue, Blue and Fairy Penguin, is the world’s smallest penguin. The species is widely distributed in Australia and in New Zealand. Upper parts are pale blue to a dark grey-blue depending upon age, season and subspecies. Average length is 43 cm (16.9 in.) and an average weight of 1.2 kg (2.65 lbs.) World Population stands at around 500,000 breeding pairs.

Macaroni Penguin

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The Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) is probably the most abundant of all penguins in terms of total numbers. The distribution of Macaroni Penguin extends from the sub-Antarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula. The species was so named because the yellow and black feathers sticking out of the side of their heads looked like the English hairstyle. This species has orange, not yellow, feather plumes. They average 70 cm (27.5 in) tall and 5.5 kg (12.12 lbs) in weight. World Population: 9,000,000 breeding pairs.

Magellanic Penguin

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The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) was named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first saw the species in 1519 on his first voyage around the tip of South America. The largest of the warm weather penguins, Magellanic Penguins are only found around the Falkland Islands and South America. The head and upper parts are black apart from two broad white stripes beneath the throat; one running up behind the cheeks and above the eye to join the pinkish gape, the second running adjacent to the white underparts with which they merge above the legs. They are about 70 cm (27.5 in) tall and weigh 4.9 kg (10.8 lbs.) World Population: 1,800,000 breeding pairs.

Rockhopper Penguin

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The Rockhopper Penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) are distinguished from other crested penguins by their smaller size and the decorative yellow feather tufts on their heads. It has a reddish brown bill, distinctive red eyes, and the feet and legs are pink. Adults average 52 cm (20.5 in) an average weight of about 3kg (6.61 lbs.)

World Population:
Southern: 650,000 breeding pairs
Eastern: 800,000 breeding pairs
Northern: 350,000 breeding pairs

Royal Penguin

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The Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) breeds on Macquarie Island. This species is slightly larger than the other crested penguins. Unlike other crested penguins, the Royal Penguin has orange, not yellow, feather plumes. It has a white face. black crown and it has crests which join on the forehead. Adults average 5.2 kg (11.45 lbs.)

Snares Penguin

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The Snares Penguin (Eudyptes robustus) is endemic to the Snares Islands, New Zealand. The head, throat and upperparts are black, and underparts are white. It has a robust conical bill and distinctive red eyes. Adult ones average 50 cm (19.7 in) in length and weigh around 3 kg. (6.6 lbs.) World Population: 30,000 breeding pairs.

Yellow-eyed Penguin

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The Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) is endemic to New Zealand. It is considered the rarest of all penguins. Adults have a band of yellow feathers going from the bill, circling the eyes and up around the head. Adults can reach 55 cm (21.65 in) in length and 5.7 kg (12.12 lbs.) There are only an estimated 1,500 breeding pairs of yellow-eyed penguins.

31 thoughts on “17 Adorable Penguin Species

  1. Wes

    I love penguins. I have never seen them in the wild as I have only been to the border of New York and Canada and Eastern Europe and never the areas where they are but I do recall going to Sea World and seeing the Emperor Penguins swimming through a whale skull in the clear viewing area made especially for the visitors to the park. Penguins are cool. They cannot fly and their wings seem to be only for balance as they do not have fingers or digits. They carry their eggs on the top of their feet and just really neat colorations.

  2. yvonnembertoldo

    Penguins are absolutely cutie pies! Me and my daughter actually fed some small penguins when we visited our country's ocean park 🙂

  3. Fred Hawson

    Thanks to the animated film Happy Feet we got introduced to penguins other than the Emperor. I did not know those crested penguins have many varieties too, like the snare, fjordland, erect.

  4. Annemarie LeBlanc

    The emperor and king penguin breeds are the ones that live up to their names. They are beautiful creatures and so elegant looking.

  5. Deshawn Keiner

    The African penguin and the Macaroni Penguin are my favorites. I love this little guys. I had a chance to hug one at Sea World years ago and I was in love every since.

  6. Raymond Vasquez

    Awwww they're just too cute. I always get caught in fascination every time I look at pictures of 'em. They're way too adorable! 😀

  7. Kelly Chin

    I have never see a live penguin before. I am quite backward. I like the Macaroni Penguin its so cute with the yellow eye brows

  8. Aurika Matias

    Penguins are really adorable, sometime I mimic their walk lol <3 Hoping for their numbers to get bigger.

  9. Ling Tan

    I really really hope to have a chance to see the Galapalagos penguins up close some day.. they look adorable. The South African Penguins really are cute! I have seen them in Cape Town!

  10. Tiffany Yong W.T.

    I never knew King Penguin and Emperor Penguin are two different species! Gosh, thanks for sharing this article. Lesson learnt about penguin cuties!

  11. Danessa Foo

    Penguins are just so adorable! The way they waddle as they walk and the way they swim so elegantly even though they are birds. Amazing creators of God!

  12. alizasara

    Its so fascinating to know that penguins do look different depending on their species. Love seeing them looking happy in the wild, whre they should be

  13. Fernando Lachica

    I thought only one kind of penguin and it's 17…really, my ignorance really sucks! I think, I need to learn some other things besides blogging.

  14. Elizabeth O.

    What I love about penguins is that they only choose one mate and that's it. So cute. No matter what type, they are indeed adorable.

  15. Dannea

    So adorable indeed! Thanks for this very informative post. And one can never get enough of penguins. I especially love those Fiordland Penguins, they just look so cool haha

  16. Claire Algarme

    These penguins are adorable! I hope we protect our environment so that these species won't go extinct anymore.

  17. Gil Camporazo

    What an informative post on different types of penguin according to their region or place where they live. Among those peguins, emperor penguin looks tidy, clean and respected. While King penguin, they're all heads up. They look so dignified and "kingly".

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