The Penguin

The word penguin 🐧 first appears in the 16th century as a synonym for great auk! The great auk is a species of flightless alcid that became extinct in the mid-19th century. 

  • When European explorers discovered what are today known as penguins in the Southern Hemisphere, they noticed their similar appearance to the great auk of the Northern Hemisphere, and named them after this bird, although they are not closely related.
  • The largest living species is the emperor penguin, on average, adults are about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (77 lb). The smallest penguin species is the little blue penguin, also known as the fairy penguin, which stands around 40 cm (16 in) tall and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb).
  • Living in colonies results in a high level of social interaction between birds, which has led to a large repertoire of visual as well as vocal displays in all penguin species.


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