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Penguins are amazing. OK they can't fly (which is a pretty amazing thing to do) and it turns out they have no taste either. But neither of those things should bother them as they are surely the smartest looking birds being all dressed up in dinner jackets ready for a black tie event at a moment's notice.

Here are a few more facts that should convince you that penguins despite their lack of senses are pretty darn cool.

Penguins

There are 17 species of penguin in the world. While some species are thriving, 12 of them have declining populations.

Penguins are found only in the Southern Hemisphere. While most people associate penguins with Antarctica, they are much more widespread and penguin populations can also be found in South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The northernmost penguin species is the Galapagos penguin, which lives year-round near the equator.

Penguins lost the ability to fly millions of years ago, but their powerful flipper-like wings and streamlined bodies make them very accomplished swimmers. They are the fastest swimming and deepest diving species of any birds.

While swimming, penguins will leap above the surface of the water, a practice called porpoising. This coats their plumage with tiny bubbles that reduce friction, allowing them to swim as fast as 16 miles per hour (25 kph).

The light front and dark back of classic penguin plumage is called countershading and it provides superb camouflage from above and below to protect penguins in the water.

Penguins are carnivores that catch all their food live in the sea. Depending on the species they can eat a variety of different marine animals, including fish, squid, shrimp, krill and other crustaceans.

Penguins’ eyes work better underwater than they do in the air, giving them superior eyesight to spot prey while hunting, even in cloudy or murky water.

The emperor penguin is the largest of the penguin species and can weigh up to 90 pounds. The fairy penguin is the smallest and weighs only 2 pounds.

The yellow-eyed penguin is believed to be the rarest penguin species, with only approximately 5,000 birds. Yellow-eyed penguins can only be found along the southeastern coast of New Zealand and nearby islands.

Penguins are social birds that form breeding colonies numbering in the tens of thousands. They may use the same nesting grounds for thousands of years, and colonies of larger birds can number in the millions.

Emperor penguins and king penguins do not make nests. Instead, a single egg for each mated pair is incubated on a parent’s feet and kept warm by a flap of skin called a brood pouch.

Emperor penguin males will incubate their eggs for two months in the winter without eating while the females are at sea. During that time, they live off their fat reserves and may lose half their body weight. When the females return shortly after the chicks hatch, they switch parental duties and the females fast.

Depending on the species, a wild penguin can live 15-20 years. During that time, they spend up to 75 percent of their lives at sea.

Penguins have many natural predators depending on their habitat, including leopard seals, sea lions, orcas, snakes, sharks and foxes. Artificial threats are also a problem for penguins, including oil spills and other pollution, global warming that changes the distribution of food sources and illegal poaching and egg harvesting.

And if that wasn't enough penguins know how to dance like badasses:



If you want to help with the conservation of penguins then why not adopt a penguin in the Falkland Islands?

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