All 17 species of penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.
1. Penguins generally live on islands and remote continental regions that are free of land predators, where their inability to fly is not detrimental to their survival.
2. These highly specialized marine birds are adapted to living at sea. Some species spend as much as 75% of their lives at sea. They usually are found near nutrient-rich, cold-water currents that provide an abundant supply of food (Ainley, et al., 1983).
3. Penguin species are found on every continent in the Southern Hemisphere. They are abundant on many temperate and subantarctic islands. Different species thrive in varying climates, ranging from Galapagos penguins on tropical islands at the equator to emperor penguins restricted to the pack ice of Antarctica (Sparks and Soper, 1987).
4. The seasonal changes of the Southern Hemisphere are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere. While continents above the equator experience spring and summer, the areas below the equator experience fall and winter.
1. Penguins generally do not migrate great distances. They tend to disperse from breeding rookeries to feed in nearby coastal waters (Sparks and Soper, 1987).
2. Young birds usually disperse when they leave their colonies, and may wander thousands of kilometers (Marchant, 1990). They generally return to the colonies where they were hatched to molt and breed (del Hoyo, et al., 1992).
1. Population data usually are gathered during the breeding season. Some researchers count chicks to estimate the total population, others count breeding pairs. The Appendix lists population estimates by species.
2. Chinstrap penguins may be the most numerous, with a population estimated at 6.5 million breeding pairs (del Hoyo, et al., 1992).
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