The beautiful penguin is the national animal of Antarctica. This beautiful flightless bird has a distinct appearance that is tuxedo-like called countershading. Antarctica’s national animal has wing-bones which are flipper-like and are most suited for swimming. There are different species of penguin but the most common ones are the macaroni penguin and the Galapagos penguin.
Penguins are mostly found in the southern hemisphere. This is due to the availability of food and the conducive environment to raise their young ones. They are aquatic birds, spending most of their time in water. The national animal of Antarctica has an estimated population of around 11654000 in the southern end of the earth (Defenders of wildlife).
Facts about the National Animal of Antarctica (Penguin)
- Common name: penguin
- Scientific name: Spheniscidae
- Habitat: Water
- Diet: fish, squid and krill
- Mating season: spring and summer
- Lifespan: 15-20 years
- Average weight: 27-41kgs
- Average length: 41-112cm
- Incubation period: 66 days
- Sexual maturity: 3-8 years
They feed, swim, nest and live in groups. They are also friendly to human beings as they like swimming close to where people are. It is this social behavior of the penguin that has made it to qualify as the national animal symbol of Antarctica. The national bird of Antarctica come in various sizes and is very colorful. They can have yellow feathers, orange and yellow marks on their necks and a light yellow mask on their face. Antarctica’s national bird can dive as deep as 120 meters down in search of food, as reported by the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust. When mating season comes, they come ashore to form large groups called colonies. They do not share mating partners as they are mostly monogamous.
The distinct features of the penguin, their way of life as a social animal and many other attributes has made many consider it as the national symbol of Antarctica.
- “Penguin facts: species and habitats”-Live science
- “Basic facts about penguins”-Defenders of wildlife