20 Amazing Different Types Of Penguins

different types of penguins

There are many different types of penguins in the world, but there are also many penguin species that aren’t as well-known as others. While the most popular penguin types like Emperor Penguins and King Penguins get plenty of attention, there are plenty of other penguin species that people aren’t so familiar with.

Penguins are one of the most beloved and well-known animals in the world, but there are still plenty of people who don’t know about some of the more uncommon types of penguins out there.

Here are 15 of the most popular types of penguins you should know about, plus an additional 5 bonus species that are incredibly rare but still very interesting!

Different types of penguins

Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)

Adelie Penguin

The Adelie penguin is one of the most common types of penguins in Antarctica. These birds breed during November to March and stay on land until October when they migrate back to the ocean. They are typically found near fast-flowing ice flows or even fresh water, since these regions have fewer predators and provide the most food for them. When there is no snow to block their view, an Adelie can see up to 60 meters (200 feet) away!

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli)

different types of penguins

The Royal Penguin has one of the highest densities of any animal on earth and can weigh up to eight pounds. The breeding range is generally around Macquarie Island, though there have been sightings in other parts of Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica.

Unlike other penguins that mate for life and live in colonies, these penguins are usually found living on their own. They don’t migrate like other species, but instead stay at sea all year round. They hunt during the day and return to land at night. They feed primarily on fish, squid, octopus, and crustaceans.

Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus)

Fiordland Penguin

The Fiordland Penguin lives in New Zealand. Unlike its cousins, the Fiordland Penguin’s eyes are black and it is about 3 pounds heavier. The female of the species is black and white, while the male is dark gray with a touch of white near its face.

To survive in their freezing environment, these penguins only live to be about six years old; the usual lifespan for a penguin. They can swim up to 20 miles per day and they don’t have any enemies because they’re too small.

Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)

Humboldt Penguin

Humboldt penguins are named after the Humboldt Current in which they live. The current is a cold-water current that flows northward along the west coast of South America, bringing lots of nutritious fish to feed these penguins and other sea life. These little guys prefer to hang out in groups of 100 or so individuals and can even be found in cool, shallow waters from California to Peru. They’re also known for their playful behavior, standing on their tails as if dancing when excited.

Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus)

Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos penguins are the only types of penguins that can be found in the Northern Hemisphere. They are typically found swimming around the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador, most commonly near these locations’ coasts and atolls. They were first classified as a different type of penguin by zoologist George Robert Gray, who was looking at a specimen from James Island (now known to be Pinta) in 1866.

European Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)

Their distinguishing characteristics include black-and-white coloring on their front parts, yellow skin under their neck, shorter bills than other penguins, webbed feet for living on water rather than land, and being able to swim with fish without catching them.

Eastern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome filholi)

eastern rockhopper penguin

The Eastern Rockhopper Penguin is the only penguin that lives on rocky shores in the world. They have gray feathers, but the male birds have a red beak and often a black spot on their chin. These types of penguins usually grow to be about 18 inches tall and they can weigh up to 12 pounds. Their maximum lifespan is 20 years old. They are most common in New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia.

Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri)

Emperor Penguin

The emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is a type of penguin native to Antarctica. They are one of the largest living species of penguins, and have a dramatic plumage difference between the male and female that makes them stand out from other species. In adult males, their bright red facial skin creates an elegant contrast with their white chest plumage.

They also have light-grey upper parts and dark grey under parts. Females lack this striking coloration. Their diet consists mainly of fish, squid, krill, and other crustaceans, as well as cephalopods when available. Emperor penguins spend most of their lives on land; however, they will go into the water to feed or if air temperatures get too high. They only stay in the water for a few minutes before returning to land again.

Southern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome)

different types of penguins

Southern Rockhopper penguins can be found around the coasts of South America. The range for these penguins is from as far south as Chile to as far north as Peru. They are small, with an average height of only 33cm.

They have gray-brown feathers and their chicks have blackheads and dark gray backs and their stomachs are white. These penguins typically live near rocky shores where they hunt for fish and squid. It’s one of the most well-known types of penguin in the world.

Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus)

Macaroni Penguin

Macaroni Penguin is also known as the Little Blue Penguin or Tarbutcher. They are medium-sized penguin that lives in sub-Antarctic regions of the Southern Ocean and eastern Australia. A colony was found on Marion Island in 2009 and it is believed they were brought there by humans.

The species have declined due to overfishing and hunting them for food. They are now classified as endangered.

Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor)

Little Penguin

The little penguin, also known as the little blue penguin, fairy penguin, blue penguin, blue fairy penguin, or blue-eyed penguin, is an endangered species found in New Zealand. These cute creatures grow to around 36 centimeters (14 inches) tall and are usually covered in black and white feathers.

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They have a yellow beak and bright blue eyes. Little penguins mainly eat fish and squid, though they’ll occasionally eat shrimp and crustaceans as well. They are monogamous, mating for life with one partner.

After mating, females lay two eggs; one of which hatches after being incubated by both parents for 45 days. If the first egg does not hatch within ten days, it will die from neglect from its parents.

Erect crested Penguin (Eudyptes sclateri)

Erect crested Penguin

The erect-crested penguin is the most populous of all the living penguin species, with around two million individuals estimated to exist throughout the world. Known for its slender body and tall, an erect crest of feathers on its head, this penguin can be distinguished from other species by their olive or brown plumage, white rings around its eyes, and pink patches on either side of its face.

They are also one of the smallest species of penguins in existence, averaging only 12 inches in height and weighing between 2-4 pounds. These particular penguins breed exclusively on Macquarie Island off Australia’s southern coast from late October through early February each year.

Like many other types of penguins, Erect-crested Penguins feed primarily on krill, squid, and small fish that they catch near the surface of the water while swimming underwater using their wings as fins.

Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi)

different types of penguins

One of the more common types of penguins you’ll see in aquariums and zoos, the Northern Rockhopper Penguin is native to New Zealand. Adults can reach up to 3 feet in height, with males usually being about 5 inches taller than females. These birds are a little smaller than an Emperor Penguin and their plumage is mostly black with yellow stripes and patches on their faces, shoulders, and flippers.

They nest near the water so they can swim away quickly when needed. Their diet consists of fish, squid, octopus, crabs, and other small prey that live near the shoreline. They’re one of the faster species too – able to reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour!

African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)

African Penguin

The African penguin, also known as the jackass penguin due to its donkey-like bray, is found primarily in the Southwestern coasts of Africa. This is one of two living species of true penguins (along with the Indo-Pacific). It’s about 30 inches tall and can weigh up to 15 pounds. It eats squid, octopus, and fish as most other penguins do.

They are sometimes referred to as seals because they often go ashore on land for extended periods of time like seals do. They can live up to 25 years old in the wild but average around 15 years old.

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Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus)

Chinstrap Penguin

The chinstrap penguins are small (30cm) types of penguins. It has a black-and-white head and narrow chest, while the rest of its body is pale grey to white in color. They live primarily in Antarctic regions but can be found as far north as Ross Island and Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America.

They feed mainly on fish, squid, and krill. Chinstrap penguins usually breed during the winter season with one egg being laid between October and December. Females will lay eggs on land and then incubate them for about two months before they hatch.

Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua)


One of the most popular types of penguins you should know is the Gentoo Penguin. These birds are small and often grow to be about a foot tall, with a wingspan that can reach up to four feet. Males and females both look alike, although males are more brightly colored than females and they have more prominent feathers on their chins.

Gentoo Penguins live in the cold parts of Antarctica, so they don’t migrate northwards as other penguins do during winter. They spend their days searching for food from the ocean, which includes krill, squid, octopus, and fish. If there’s no food available for them to eat near shore, they’ll travel farther out into the water where they might find larger prey items.

They’re known as an elegant type of penguin because they walk instead of waddle or shuffle when they move around on land or in water.

Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus)

different types of penguins

The Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is a migratory bird that resides in the coasts of Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands. It gets its name from Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who discovered them in 1519.

One of their distinguishing features is that they are white underneath and dark on top with a black-tipped beak. They also have an orangey-pink patch at the corner of their eyes. They are very social animals and live together in large groups or colonies.

Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes)

different types of penguins

The yellow-eyed penguin, also known as the hoiho in New Zealand, is a beautiful and tiny bird. They are endemic to New Zealand, where they live on the Chatham Islands. These birds feed primarily on sardines and other small fish they can find while diving at depths of up to 50 meters deep.

Although these types of penguins were once numerous, their population is now only around 2,000 in total. In fact, they are classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List. In addition to fishing nets, humans have played a significant role in the decline of this species.

Yellow-eyed penguins have been hunted for food and feathers; it is estimated that some 100,000 skins were taken from them during the 19th century alone.

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)

King Penguin

King penguins are the second largest types of penguins, just behind the emperor penguin. They are native to Antarctica, but were introduced to sub-Antarctic islands in the 1900s and subsequently became well established in this region. King penguins mostly feed on fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods.

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They breed annually but raise one chick every two years if they can get enough food. The female lays a single egg and takes care of it until it hatches. A male king penguin will guard his territory around the egg by sitting on it for up to 65 days while waiting for the egg to hatch.

Once the chick is born, both parents take turns caring for it until they’re ready to go off into the world on their own after four months.

Snares Penguin (Eudyptes robustus)

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Snares penguins have brown heads, throats, and back. Their face has two bands of white feathers. They are around 4 feet tall and weigh up to 35 pounds.

They get their name from their beautiful snare traps which they build with stones on the beach to catch fish and other prey in New Zealand.

This species was hunted heavily by humans and introduced predators such as rats, ferrets, stoats, cats, dogs, and foxes. As a result, their population declined rapidly in the late 1800s. They have now recovered and number more than 5500 individuals today.

White Flippered Penguin (Eudyptula minor albosignata)

different types of penguins

Unlike most other types of penguins, the white-flippered penguin’s feathers are mostly black and it does not have the distinctive plumage or coloration that some other species have. It is thought to be the only penguin that breeds on mainland Australia.

For some time, it was believed that this species lives in small family groups composed of one male, one female, and their offspring from previous years. However, recent research has shown that they actually live in monogamous pairs, although males will sometimes share a nest with an unrelated female if she lacks a mate.

They also like to hang out at night where they are usually found during winter feeding at shallower depths and during summer feeding much deeper. They use their wings for balance when walking on land and as paddles when swimming underwater.