For your convenience, this information is also available as a penguin species sheet pdf (239kb) and as part of the Penguin Teachers Guide pdf (1mb).

Adelie penguinAdelie penguin

  • Pygoscelis adeliae
  • Standing height: 18-24 inches
  • Weight: 8-10 pounds
  • Home: circumpolar on Antarctic continent and the surrounding waters within limits of pack ice
  • Lower risk population estimated at 4,931,600 birds
  • The Adelie penguin is the characteristic “tuxedo” penguin of Antarctica.
  • This species, along with the emperor penguin, is restricted to Antarctica and the surrounding waters.

African penguinAfrican penguin

See me at the Aquarium's penguin exhibit.

  • Spheniscus demersus
  • Standing height: 25-27 inches
  • Weight: 6-8 pounds
  • Home: South Africa and Namibia
  • Vulnerable population estimated at 180,000 adults
  • African penguins nest in burrows for protection from the hot sun and predators.
  • They are referred to as jackass penguins since their vocalizations sound like braying donkeys.

Chinstrap penguinChinstrap penguin

  • Pygoscelis antarctica
  • Standing height: 28-30 inches
  • Weight: 8.5-9.5 pounds
  • Home: Circumpolar, breeding south of the Antarctic convergence on islands and on the Antarctic peninsula
  • Lower risk population estimated at 15,000,000 birds
  • The chinstrap penguin is the second-most numerous penguin in the world. This penguin belongs to a group of penguins known as the brush-tailed or stiff-tailed penguins.

Emperor penguinEmperor penguin

  • Aptenodytes forsteri
  • Standing height: 36-44 inches
  • Weight: 60-90 pounds
  • Home: Marine, circumpolar, within the Antarctic zone, approximately 40 colonies scattered around Antarctica, most on fast ice
  • Lower risk population estimated at 436,200 birds
  • The emperor penguin is the largest of all penguins.
  • This penguin endures the harshest weather of any species on the planet.

Erect crested penguin

  • Eudyptes sclateri
  • Erect crested penguinStanding height: 25 inches
  • Weight: 6-7.7 pounds
  • Home: Both islands of New Zealand, with some birds on Antipodes, Bounty and Auckland Islands. Non-breeding range at sea is unknown.
  • Vulnerable population estimated at 330,000 birds
  • All species of crested penguins have heads adorned with yellow feathers.

Fiordland penguin

  • Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
  • Standing height: 24 inches
  • Fiordland penguinWeight: 6-7 pounds
  • Home: sub-Antarctic islands and New Zealand
  • Vulnerable population estimated at 5,000-6,000 birds
  • The Fiordland penguin is considered the most timid and the most rare of the crested penguins.

Galapagos penguin

  • Spheniscus mendiculus
  • Standing height: 21 inches
  • Weight: 5-6 pounds
  • Home: Lives year-round on the Galapagos Islands of Fernandina and Galapagos penguin
    Isabela, 600 miles west of Ecuador
  • Endangered population estimated between 3,000 and 8,000 birds
  • This penguin is a truly tropical weather penguin, living on the hot desert islands of the Galapagos at the equator—making it the most northerly penguin species. Temperatures often exceed 100 degrees in this region.

Gentoo penguin

  • Pygoscelis papua
  • Standing height: 30-35 inches
  • Gentoo penguinWeight: 10-14 pounds
  • Home: Around the globe on sub-Antarctic islands and the Antarctic peninsula
  • Lower risk population estimated at 628,000 birds
  • The gentoo penguin belongs to a group of penguins commonly known as brush-tailed penguins, which also include the Adelie and chinstrap penguins. The gentoo is the most timid of the three.

Humboldt penguin

  • Spheniscus humboldti
  • Humboldt penguinStanding height: 18-24 inches
  • Weight: 6-11 pounds
  • Home: The western coast of South America (Peru and Chile). Although the air temperature can be warm, the water of the Humboldt current is very cold.
  • Vulnerable population estimated at 13,000 birds
  • The Humboldt penguin populations have declined seriously during the past century due to many factors, including loss of good nesting sites, reduced food supply, predation and the impact of increasingly severe El Niño fluctuations. Biologists are working toward their conservation.

King penguin

  • King penguinAptenodytes patagonicus
  • Standing height: 37 inches
  • Weight: 30-45 pounds
  • Home: sub-Antarctic and Antarctic islands
  • Lower risk population estimated at 3,276,890 birds
  • The king penguin is the second largest of all penguins.
  • They are gregarious by nature, gathering in colonies by the thousands.
  • Kings are found in their colonies year round because it takes them 15-18 months to raise their single chick.

Little blue penguin

See me at the Aquarium's penguin exhibit.

  • Little blue penguinEudyptula minor
  • Standing height: 10-12 inches
  • Weight: 2-3 pounds
  • Home: Australia and New Zealand. The inshore habits of this species have caused isolated groups to evolve into 6 recognized subspecies.
  • Stable population estimated at 700,000-1,200,000 birds.
  • The little blue penguin is the smallest species of penguin in the world and is found exclusively in Australia and New Zealand.
  • This penguin employs a wide range of songs more extensively than any other penguin species.
  • From an evolutionary standpoint, the little penguin is considered the most primitive.

Macaroni penguinMacaroni penguin

  • Eudyptes chrysolophus
  • Standing height: 28 inches
  • Weight: 9-13 pounds
  • Home: Spends 75% of its time at sea. Breeds on steep, rocky sub-Antarctic islands close to the Antarctic convergence in the South Atlantic and Indian oceans, with one breeding colony located on the Antarctic peninsula
  • Vulnerable populations estimated at 18,000,000 to 23,000,000 birds
  • The name macaroni describes their yellow crest feathers, which resemble an eighteenth century hat fashion worn by young Englishmen.
  • Macaronis are the largest crested penguin.
  • They breed closer to Antarctica than any other crested penguin, and even have one breeding colony on the Antarctic peninsula.

Magellanic penguinMagellanic penguin

  • Spheniscus magellanicus
  • Standing height: 14-22 inches
  • Weight: 7-15 pounds
  • Home: central Chile and central Argentina, south to Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands
  • Lower risk population estimated at 2,600,000 birds
  • The Magellanic penguin is the most numerous of four species of the genus Spheniscus. The other three species are the Humboldt, African and the Galapagos penguins.

Rockhopper penguin

See me at the Aquarium's penguin exhibit.

  • Rockhopper penguinEudyptes chrysocome
  • Standing height: 18- 23 inches
  • Weight: 4.5-8 pounds
  • Home: Breed on rocky islands located in the sub-Antarctic and south temperate regions of the Indian and South Atlantic oceans. Great distances between these island groups have resulted in the evolution of three subspecies.
  • All three rockhopper subspecies are considered vulnerable. Northern rockhopper: 700,000 adults, Southern rockhopper: 950,000 adults, Eastern rockhopper: 1,664,000 adults
  • The name rockhopper describes the way this species hops around the steep, rocky places where they live for part of the year.

Royal penguinRoyal penguin

  • Eudyptes schlegeli
  • Standing height: 26 inches
  • Weight: 12 pounds
  • Home: Breeding is restricted to Macquarie Island off New Zealand and adjacent islets. Wintering range is sub-Antarctic water.
  • Vulnerable population estimated at 1,700,000 birds
  • The royal penguin is the only crested penguin to have a white face and throat.

Snares Island penguin

  • Snares island penguinEudyptes robustus
  • Standing height: 25 inches
  • Weight: 6-7 pounds
  • Home: New Zealand, breeds only on Snares Island chain. Non-breeding range extends to other nearby islands in the Pacific.
  • Vulnerable population estimated at 46,500 birds
  • The Snares Island penguin breeds only on the densely forested Snares Islands. It is the only penguin that actually roosts in low trees.

Yellow-eyed penguin

  • Megadyptes antipodes
  • Yellow-eyed penguinStanding height: 21 inches
  • Weight: 11.5-13 pounds
  • Home: Southeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island, including Stewart, Campbell and Auckland Islands
  • Vulnerable population estimated at 4,000-7,000 birds. Population has decreased by 40% over the last 40 years.
  • The yellow-eyed penguin is the most reclusive of all penguin species. These penguins seek out sheltered nests completely isolated from their neighbors. In fact, if two pairs are within sight of each other, both will experience an unsuccessful breeding season.

Illustrations / B. Harmon