Most birds are built for life in the air, but penguins are far better equipped for life in the water.
These flightless birds use their wings as paddles when they’re swimming, enabling them to “fly” through the water. And they can “fly” indeed, some penguins travel more than 22 miles an hour when swimming underwater, making them the fastest swimming birds on earth.
Penguins eat fish and shellfish. They raise their young in huge colonies located in Antarctica and neighboring islands. Sometimes penguins raise their young in “families,” with adults caring for a number of young rather than just their own.
There are more than a dozen species of penguin living in the southern seas and in the Antarctic region. They range in size from the little blue penguin, just 16 inches tall, to the emperor penguin, which may stand 4 feet tall and weigh close to 80 pounds.
These large penguins can dive down as deep as 870 feet. They can stay underwater for more than 15 minutes at a time!