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Penguins (Order Spheniscidae) are 18 species of flightless seabirds found in the Southern Hemisphere. Penguins are best known for the ability of some species, especially emperor and Adélie penguins, to survive in the icy extremes of Antarctica. Yet, some penguins live in warmer regions — the Galápagos penguin even dwells on islands near the balmy Equator. The other species inhabit the Antarctic Peninsula, subantarctic islands, or coastal areas of South America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Penguins are remarkably adapted for life at sea and can spend as much as 75% of their time in the ocean. Instead of flying in the air like other birds, penguins flap their wings to fly through the water at dizzying speeds. Their shiny, closely-spaced feathers overlap like shingles to keep water away from the skin. They also have more feathers than most other birds, with about 100 feathers per square inch, to help keep them warm.
Many penguins are threatened by overfishing, accidental entanglement in fishing nets and lines, oil spills, and climate change. You can help penguins by choosing sustainable seafood and reducing your energy use at home, school, or work.