Today is World Penguin Day. These funny flightless birds in their tuxedo markings (countershade) have survived the extinction of the dinosaurs and gone on to find fame in film.

To celebrate World Penguin Day here are some amazing penguin facts about Pingu, Mumble, Agent Classified, and friends.

  • The earliest penguin relative fossills place it about 60 million years ago
  • There are no penguins in the North Pole. There are 18 species of penguin and they nearly all live in the southern hemisphere
  • The smallest penguin is the Little Blue Penguin (16″), the tallest the Emperor Penguin (4′)
  • Penguins sneeze
  • Penguins go bald – they moult all at once and have to spend around 3 weeks on land waiting for their feathers to grow back
  • They’re exhibitionist voyeurs – all but two species breed in large colonies of up to 1000 birds
  • They’re loyal lovers (mostly) – nearly all mate with the same penguin season-upon-season. Penguins sing to each other to learn to recognise their mate’s voice
  • They’re home bodies – most return to their rookery of birth
  • Penguins don’t have teeth
  • They can jump up to 9′ (3 m)
  • The ladies like their boys big – some male penguins are stay-at-home dads, incubating the eggs while the ladies head off to hunt. Bigger birds make the most desirable mates because they can survive weeks without eating due to body fat stores
  • Penguins have excellent hearing, even though you can’t see their ears
  • Emperor Penguins can hold their breath for nearly 20 minutes and reach depths of 1,850 feet
  • The collective term for penguins at sea is a raft: on land, it’s a waddle

Have a read of other world animal days: Turtle, Lion and Elephant.