Where do Penguins Live?

Get answers to:

  • How many penguin species there are?
  • What does sphenisciforme mean?
  • Why are penguins black and white?

There are about 20 species of penguin and, excluding zoos, are mostly found in the Southern Hemisphere from the Equator down to the Antarctic. Only the Emperor Penguin and Adélie penguin live on the coasts of Antarctica, the remaining penguins are found along the coasts and islands of Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and South America. The Galapagos penguin lives near the Equator and, since the Galapagos Islands cross into the Northern Hemisphere, sometimes finds itself in the Northern Hemisphere.

Penguins do not live in the Arctic.

Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds of the order sphenisciforme – which comes from the Greek spheniscus meaning small wedge and the Latin formis meaning shape.

All penguins have dark backs and light fronts which help to camouflage them from predators. The scientific term for this is counter-shading. When swimming, the light front makes it difficult for predators to see the penguin from below and the dark back makes them difficult to see from above. While most penguins have black backs and white fronts, The Australian little penguin and Little blue penguin have bluish backs.

List of all penguin species (as of 2017)

  1. Adélie penguin
  2. African penguin
  3. Australian little penguin1
  4. Chinstrap penguin
  5. Eastern rockhopper penguin
  6. Emperor penguin
  7. Erect-crested penguin
  8. Fiordland penguin
  9. Galapagos penguin
  10. Gentoo penguin
  11. Humboldt penguin
  12. King penguin
  13. Little blue penguin
  14. Macaroni penguin
  15. Magellanic penguin
  16. Northern rockhopper penguin
  17. Royal penguin2
  18. Snares penguin
  19. Western rockhopper penguin
  20. White-flippered penguin3
  21. Yellow-eyed penguin

  1. This was believed to be the same species as the Little blue penguin, but, in 2016, DNA analysis showed it to be its own distinct species.
  2. Some authorities consider the Royal penguin to be a sub-species of the Macaroni penguin rather than its own distinct species.
  3. Some authorities consider the White-flippered penguin to be a sub-species of the Little blue penguin rather than its own distinct species.