In Focus – Penguins

Status: Least Concern

Geographical Region:  Southern Hemisphere

Origin of Name: French word – pingouin 

Habitat: Coastline

Threats: Leopard seals, killer whales, sharks, people

Left in Wild:  See list below

King Penguin – Sea World, Gold Coast

The penguin is a flightless aquatic bird that lives in the Southern Hemisphere.  When most people think of penguins they generally picture the Antarctic variety such as the king or the largest of the species the emperor penguin.  There are 17 species of penguin of which only a few live in Antarctica. The general rule is the larger the penguin the colder the climate they live in. The smallest penguin is aptly named the ‘little penguin’ found on the south east coast of Australia and New Zealand. 


Little Penguin  – Sea World, Gold Coast

Penguins tend to pair up at mating time and look after their egg and chick together but they don’t necessarily stay together as a couple for their whole lives. Larger penguins such as the species that live in the Antarctic lay one egg per season, however smaller penguins generally lay two.

Chinstrap Penguin – Central Park Zoo


Stu’s Zoo Pick for the Penguin

To be totally honest I find penguin enclosures to be just as fascinating as the penguins that inhabit them. Grand structures they have become, allowing visitors to get up close and see the penguins from every viewing point imaginable. In 2013 Sea World Orlando incorporated penguin viewing with a new ride system to enhance the visitors overall experience


At SeaWorld Orlando

Sea World on the Gold Coast is by far the best penguin viewing experience I have had to date with the opportunity to view three species of penguins in two separate enclosures. Penguin Encounter is the ultimate attraction for viewing both the King and Gentoo penguins and also learning about the diverse variety of penguin species. The viewing opportunities here include underwater and up-close experiences. At penguin point you can watch the antics of the world’s smallest penguins – little penguins. This is a great place to see these little guys up close, watch them at feeding time and listen to keeper talks.

Great displays at Penguin Encounter at Sea World – Gold Coast

Central Park Zoo is another great zoo for viewing Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins at their purpose-built enclosure at Polar Circle.

Little Penguin – Sea World, Gold Coast

Here is a list of the 17 species of penguins, their natural location and how many live in the wild.

Adelie penguin: Antarctica – approximately 5 million

African penguin: South Africa – approximately 120 thousand

Chinstrap penguin: Antarctic Peninsula – approximately 12 million

Emperor penguin: Antarctica – approximately 400 thousand

Erect – crested penguin: New Zealand – approximately 300 thousand

Fiordland penguin: New Zealand – approximately 6 thousand

Galapagos penguin: Galapagos Island – approximately 2 thousand

Gentoo penguin: Antarctic Peninsula – approximately 600 thousand

Humboldt penguin: Chile and Peru – approximately 24 thousand

King penguin: Heard and Macquarie Island – approximately 4 million

Little penguin: Australia and New Zealand – approximately 1 million

Macaroni penguin: Chile and Argentina – approximately 15 million

Magellanic penguin: Chile and Argentina – approximately 3 million

Rockhopper penguin: Chile and Argentina – approximately 3 million 

Royal penguins: New Zealand and Australia – approximately

Snares penguin: Snares Island, New Zealand – approximately 50 thousand

Yellow – eyed penguin: New Zealand – approximately 3 thousand

Adelie and Rockhopper penguins from SeaWorld Orlando




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