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Monday, 23 January 2017

Penguin

PENGUINS IN HISTORY

The men among Magellan's 1519-1522 expedition across the world were the first Europeans to discover the black 'goose' which had to be skinned instead of plucked — the penguin.

The earliest known use of the word "penguin" in English was in 1577. It was used in the "Log of the Golden Hinde" by Francis Fletcher, who was a clergyman who sailed with Francis Drake.

In 1840, French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville discovered Adélie penguins and named them after his wife, Adèle. His reasons for this are unknown.

Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) feeding young. By Jerzy Strzelecki 

ETYMOLOGY 

It is unclear whether the word 'penguin' comes from the Latin 'pinguis' meaning 'fat' or the Welsh 'pen gwyn', which means 'white head' (though penguins do not have white heads).

Originally the word ‘penguin’ referred to the Newfoundland albatross or the great auk.

‘Spheniscine’ means ‘pertaining to penguins’.

FAMOUS PENGUINS 

On August 24, 1967, two penguins from Chessington Zoo were taken by their keepers to join skaters at London’s Streatham ice-rink to cool off as the city sweltered in 27c (80,5f)

A young Humboldt penguin named Penguin 337 spent two months at large in Tokyo in March 2012 after scaling a wall and slipping through a fence at the Sea Life Park. 337 was eventually spotted in Tokyo Bay and caught on the banks of one of the city’s rivers.

Humboldt Penguin

Britain's oldest penguin, Pat, (and the second oldest in Europe) died in Torquay, Devon on December 8, 2015 at the age of 37. She was an African penguin, whose average lifespan is 15 to 20 years in the wild or 30 years in captivity.

ANATOMY

Penguins have the highest feather density of any bird, at about 100 feathers per square inch.

The tuxedo pattern of a penguin's feathers is a form of camouflage. From above, their dark body blends into the ocean water, from below their white stomachs match the bright, sun-lit surface.

Newborn penguins do not have waterproof feathers so must wait before going in the water.

Penguins can swim underwater at speeds of up to 25mph.

Adélie penguins have pink feet; Gentoo penguins' feet are orange.

Since penguins don't need hollow, light bones to fly, the bones in their flippers are solid and can be used to fight off rivals.

Emperor penguins have a gland behind their ears that filters salt from the water out of their system.

Emperor Penguin

Penguins are generally extremely short-sighted on land, though they can see very well under water.

The emperor penguin has the largest body mass of all penguins.

The fairy penguin is the smallest species of penguin, growing to an average 33 cm (13 in).

BREEDING

The number of breeding pairs of penguins in Antarctica is estimated to be 20 million.

Penguin pair

Penguins typically mate only once a year and "propose" by giving their mate a pebble. King and emperor penguins lay one egg. All other species of penguin lay two eggs.

DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT

There are 17 species of penguin of which all but four are threatened, endangered or nearly extinct. .

The 17 species of penguin range from the 4ft tall emperor penguin to the 16-inch little blue.

Only one bird—the emperor penguin—will winter on Antarctica and use the frozen continent as a nursery.

In 2012, satellite mapping technology was used to count Emperor penguins from space. It found there were twice as many as had been thought.

Emperor Penguins

BEHAVIOR

Penguins spend as much as 75 percent of their lives at sea, coming ashore for molting or breeding.

Penguins have been known to push a fellow penguin into the water to check if the area is safe and free of predators.

In 2000 scientists proved that waddling is the most efficient way for Emperor penguins to walk.

Penguins drink saltwater, but their supraorbital gland filters salt from their bloodstream. The salt gets excreted when penguins sneeze.


Penguins can't taste sweet or savory flavors — in fact, the only flavors they can taste are sour and salty ones, which means they cannot taste fish. Taste is critical for survival in most animals, but may not matter in the penguin, which swallows fish whole,

When a male penguin falls in love with a female penguin, he searches the entire beach to find the perfect pebble to present to her.

FUN PENGUIN FACTS

Each year, a South American Magellanic penguin swims 5,000 miles to be reunited with the Brazilian fisherman who saved his life.


Oamaru, New Zealand has built a tunnel underneath a road for blue penguins, who march from a harbor to their nesting site every night.

In Japan, there's a penguin named La La who's been trained to wear a backpack. Every day he walks into town by himself with his backpack to collect fish from the local market.

Sources Daily Express, Natureworldnews.com

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