Birds of the World

COAST BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Penguins
 
 
 

TRAITS
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Totipalmate Swm

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PASSERINES
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      Broadbills
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 OSCINES
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   Fringillines
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Sphenisciformes
 
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Penguins
 
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All species of penguins
 
Species:   
Galapagos Penguin, Humboldt Penguin, Magellanic Penguin, African Penguin
 
Images:   
Emperor Penguin, Southern Rockhopper Penguin, Humboldt Penguins (Hawaii)
Antarctic Penguins (Macaroni Penguin, Adélie Penguin, Chinstrap Penguin, Gentoo Penguin)
South African Penguins (African Penguin)
       
  Parvclass Neoaves - Modern Birds
The remaining orders and families are all "modern birds."
ToL
 
  Order Sphenisciformes - Penguins
Wiki     ToL     EoL
 
  Family Spheniscidae - Penguins
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  17 (20) species, 6 genera. Southern Oceans - Antarctica, South America, South Africa, southern Australia, and New Zealand north to the Equator (Galapagos Islands - Ecuador). There are also a number of fossil penguins.
   Penguins are flightless divers found in the Southern Hemisphere - most inhabit colder waters - but the group ranges north to the Equator in the Galapagos. They feed at sea but use coasts and islands for breeding. Their wings have been reduced to "flippers," paddles that provide the major propulsive force used in swimming and diving.
   Penguins are relatively large water birds (ranging from 1 - 35 kg or 75 lbs). Males may be slightly larger than females. Their head is pointed and their bill is stout. The neck is short an the body is tapered to a short, stiff tail. Some have eye tufts or crests. They have scale-like feathers covering their entire body (there are no "apteria" - bare areas of skin). An aftershaft is present. A thin layer of air is trapped by their feathers providing buoyancy and insulation in colder waters. During molt, older feathers are pushed out on the tips of the follicles of new feathers as they grow (rather than being shed first). Their forelimbs are modified as flippers - wing bones are flattened and fused with little movement between them. The scapula is large and broad and the coracoid is also large. Their legs are set posteriorly, forcing them to walk upright on land. They have a large patella. The tarsometatrarsus is short and its component bones are incompletely fused. Their toes are thickly webbed. The skull bones are fused and the skeleton is not pneumatic, increasing their mass and facilitating submergence and deep diving in these "wing-propelled" divers.
   The pelvic muscle formula is ABX+ and their flexor tendons are Type 4 but there is some variation among species. Their bill is short to medium-sized and stout. Nares are impervious. There are two lateral notches in the sternum. Their intestinal caeca are small. Their tongue and roof of the mouth are covered with papilla. There are 15 cervical vertebrae. Obviously there are no remiges or rectrices (flight feathers). They have 15 cervical vertebrae. The rhamphotheca is complex and scales covering it are molted (rather than worn away as in most birds). They direct their four webbed toes forward. Their oil gland is bilobed and tufted.
   Like many other waterbirds, they use warmer blood heading to the extremities to cool returning blood  - a countercurrent exchange that conserves heat. They have well-developed layers of subcutaneous fat which may also retard heat loss but more importantly provide essential nutrition during prolonged incubation periods when the attending parent is unable to feed. They have well developed supraorbital glands used to excrete salt through the nares - they are thus able to drink hypertonic sea water.
   Penguins are largely diurnal. They use their wings for propulsion and the feet and tail as a rudder. They can swim 5 mph and dive for up to 8 minutes (the King Penguin may remain submerged for 18 minutes and descend to 1,000'). Smaller species usually make shallower dives lasting only 1-2 minutes. Larger species may travel 500 miles or more to feed. Because of the placement of their legs, they walk upright (with difficulty) or "toboggan" on their bellies, propelled by their wings or feet. Some travel long distances from the ice edge to their breeding colony.
   They feed on krill, fish, squid, and other marine organisms using their eyes underwater. Antarctic species specialize on krill and squid - more northern species concentrate on fish.
   All are monogamous. Some species mate for life - others just for a season - and both sexes cooperate closely to raise one or two young. All but two (Yellow-eyed and Fiordland Penguins) breed colonially. The Emperor Penguin breeds during the Antarctic winter. Nests vary from a pile of stones and driftwood to a platform of vegetation. Most species lay 2 eggs (the larger penguins lay only one). They alternate incubation and brooding duties with one parent in attendance, the other feeding at sea. The largest penguins hold a single egg on their feet covered by a fold of abdominal skin. Incubation typically takes 33-38 days in smaller penguins to 64 days in large species. Chicks are fed regurgitated food. After fledging, mobile young may form crèches while both parents forage for food (for up to 2 months). Returning parents recognize their own chick's calls amid others in the crèche.
   Penguins as a whole are highly modified for their aquatic existence. They are thought to bear some relation to procellariids or loons-grebes. These groups have several characteristics in common including a schizognathous palate, two carotid arteries, holorhinal nostrils, palmate feet, and two nestling down coats. The Encyclopedia of Life includes penguins with the Order Ciconiiformes. Clements (2007) places penguins at the beginning of his list of birds of the world (their traditional position) but Sibley and Ahlquist (1990) list them with procellariids between frigatebirds (included with the totipalmate swimmers by Clements) and loons and other tube-nosed swimmers. Various authors accept penguins and procellariids as sister taxa. They may be regarded as "higher waterfowl" with relations to storks, rails, and other seabirds.
   Whatever their eventual phylogenetic disposition is, it is unlikely that they belong at the base of the infraclass of modern birds - penguins (and procellariids) are highly modified swimmers. Sibley and Monroe (1990) place the terrestrial galliform birds (guans, megapodes, pheasants, etc., including chickens) - the Galloanserae - at the base of the Neoaves (a more appropriate location now becoming more widely accepted, but not their historical position in most lists).
   There are no penguins found in North America but alcids form loose ecological equivalents (only the extinct Great Auk, however, totally lost the ability to fly).
     
  Emperor Penguin Rockhoppers  
  Emperor Penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri.
Brehms Tierleben, 1892. 
                                        Wiki     ToL     EoL
Southern Rockhopper Penguins(?), Eudyptes chrysocome, Boston Aquarium.
                                              Wiki    ToL     EoL
 
 
 
Humboldt Penguins, Spheniscus humboldti. Sea Life Park, Oahu.                                              Wiki    ToL     EoL
 
 
All Penguins:

Large Penguins:

   King Penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus.  Staten, South Georgia, Falkland, Macquarie, Kerguelen, Crozet, Marion Islands.
   Emperor Penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri. Antarctic continent to edge of ice pack.

Brush-tailed Group:
   Gentoo Penguin, Pygoscelis papua. Sub-Antarctic regions souto th 60° S, Antarctic Peninsula to South Sandwich Islands.
   Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae. Circumpolar Antarctic seas to edge of pack ice.
   Chinstrap Penguin, Pygoscelis  antarcticus. Circumpolar Antarctic seas and adjacent islands.

Crested Group:
   Fiordland Penguin, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus. South Island (New Zealand) and adjacent sub-Antarctic islands.
   Snares Penguin, Eudyptes robustus. Snares Island, adjacent waters off New Zealand.
   Erect-crested Penguin, Eudyptes sclateri, Sub-Antarctic New Zealand and Australian waters.
   Rockhopper Penguin, Eudyptes cyrysocome. Cape Horn, Falkland Islands, Kerguelen and sub-Antarctic New Zealand islands, Tristan da
      Cunha, St. Paul and Amsterdam Islands. [Two species, the Southern Rockhopper Penguin, E. cyrysocome, and Northern Rockhopper
      Penguin, E. moseleyi,
may represent two separate species]
   Royal Penguin, Eudyptes schlegeli. Macquarie Island and adjacent islets.
   Macaroni Penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus. Sub-Antarctic islands, south Atlantic and south Indian Oceans.
   [Chatham Islands Penguin, Eudyptes sp. Extinct.]

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Megadyptes antipodes. Auckland, Stewart, Campbell, and South Islands (New Zealand).
       [The Waitaha Penguin, Megadyptes waitaha, is extinct.]

Little Penguin, Eudyptula minor. Southern Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Cook Strait, Chatham Islands.
       [The Northern Little Penguin, Eudyptula albosignata, may be a separate species.]

Banded Group:
   Jackass (African) Penguin, Spheniscus demersus. Coasts, islands - Namibia, South Africa.
   Humboldt Penguin, Spheniscus humboldti. Humboldt Current region, coastal northern Peru to southern Chile.
   Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus. Patagonian Coasts, Staten, Falkland, Juan Fernández Islands.
   Galapagos Penguin, Spheniscus mendiculus. Fernandina, Isabela - Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
     
  Reference:

See: Lynch, W. 2007. Penguins of the World. Firefly Books. Richmond Hill, Ontario
       
    Banner - Galapagos Penguins. Puerto Egas, Santiago. Galapagos.