World Penguin Day on April 25 aims to raise awareness about these flightless birds to preserve their species so that future generations get to see these elegant and remarkable creatures. This day coincides with the annual northern migration of Adélie penguins, a pattern that is inherent and conserved across generations. There are eight species native to Antarctica. Most penguins are monogamous and have unique calls to assist them to find their mates in large groups. Most species lay up to two eggs in a season while the King and Emperor penguins lay only one. Alarmingly though, of the 18 known living species, 10 have been listed as endangered.
History of World Penguin Day
This particular celebration of penguins was created at McMurdo Station, an American research center on Ross Island where researchers discovered that Adélie penguins start their migration around this day each year. So began World Penguin Day as a way to commemorate the event and raise awareness about these creatures. This day encourages people to learn more about penguins, the dangers they encounter, their environment, and their contribution to the environment.
Penguins differ considerably in size, from the large emperor penguin, reaching heights of over three feet and seven inches, to the little blue penguin which is about 13 inches tall. Historically, giant species of penguins existed that grew almost six feet high and weighed over 176 pounds. Penguins are highly adaptive to aquatic life, with their wings that have evolved into flippers and their excellent swimming abilities where species like the emperor penguin can reach deep depths of 1,800 feet. Penguins are disguised to protect themselves against predators from above and below. Their glossy feathers hold air in them that helps to both keep them warm and help them stay afloat. These extraordinary creatures are spread all over the Southern Hemisphere, from Antarctica to the Galápagos Islands, penguins are famous for their dedicated chick hatching endeavors, cute waddles, and amazing survival instincts such as huddling to stay warm during icy winters.
Our appreciation for penguins has inspired the creation of movies and books such as “Penguins of Madagascar” and ”Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” Yet, they face extinction where a concerted effort is needed to help reduce our carbon footprint and prevent pollution to preserve their habitat.
World Penguin Day timeline
National Penguin Day starts in 1972 when Gerry Wallace marked the start of the migration of the Adélie penguin on his wife’s calendar.
This critically acclaimed French documentary follows the annual movements of emperor penguins.
Researchers estimate that by 2100, at least two-thirds of emperor penguin colonies will have dramatically declined.
2022 will mark 50 years of the official celebration of the Penguins.
World Penguin Day FAQs
If Penguins are birds why can't they fly?
Penguins do fly through water — using their wings (called flippers) to propel themselves through the water rather than air. Because water is much denser than air, penguin wings are shorter and stouter than the wings of birds that fly through the air. Penguins are also much heavier than similar-sized flying birds and have solid bones rather than weight-saving air-filled bones.
Do penguins bite?
Yes, penguins defend themselves and their nest sites with their beaks and wings. They bite fiercely and also use their thick, strap-like, wings to beat their opponent. Blue penguins and most of the crested species are regular fighters, while yellow-eyed penguins, rarely fight.
What do penguins eat?
Their diet varies between species and in some cases, location. This can include a wide range of fish, squid, octopus, and euphausiids (shrimp-like animals). Some species of penguin target surface-schooling fish species while others are mid-water or bottom feeders.
World Penguin Day Activities
Learn about Penguins
This is a perfect opportunity to gather information about these amazing animals. Search online, read books, or watch “Penguins” — A coming-of-age documentary about an Adélie penguin named Steve who joins millions of other males to start his own family despite the perils of Antarctica.
Visit your local zoo
If you can, take a trip to a zoo to see these birds up close. You may even get the opportunity to take part in feeding time by throwing fish to the peckish birds.
Adopt a penguin
Fund a penguin with the option of adopting one remotely. You can give it a name and arrange for visits.
5 Amazing Facts About Penguins
Penguins are gifted divers
King penguins can dive down to 1,125 feet, while Gentoo penguins reach depths of 600 feet.
Penguins poop every 20 minutes
Penguins digest their food very quickly which is why they frequently have to poop.
Their countershading protects them from predators
The black and white color of penguins provides camouflage so that they can’t be seen by predators above and below them.
Gentoo Penguins are the fastest swimmers
Gentoo penguins can swim at speeds of up to 22 miles per hour.
Penguins have existed since antiquity
The oldest penguin fossils are millions of years old.
Why We Love World Penguin Day
They are a marvel of nature
Penguins aren’t only visually appealing but are the most skilled birds in the animal kingdom. They’re capable of holding their breath underwater for 20 minutes and can swim around five times faster than an Olympic swimmer.
They are unique
Penguins are birds, although aquatic and flightless. They live in the southern hemisphere, gracing their habitat with their beauty. World Penguin Day is dedicated to these exceptional creatures.
They positively impact our environment
In maintaining ecological balance, penguins serve as food for leopard seals and sharks. They also contribute to the food chain by preying on krill, squid, and small fish.
World Penguin Day dates