5 beautiful pics to celebrate Penguin Awareness Day

Today is Penguin Awareness Day, so we thought we would celebrate with five amazing snaps of penguin species that live on Antarctica and in its surrounding waters.

1. The humble Emperor. The largest of all penguins, the Emperor penguin is the only penguin species to breed on sea ice during Antarctica’s dark and frigid winter. Climate change and changes in sea-ice is  predicted to have disastrous effects on emperor penguins. Photo by Bruno Marie.

2. The Adélie gang. While fairly slow on land, Adélie penguins are phenomenal in the water, swimming at speeds of 4.4 metres per second. Due to their dependency on the ice, Adélie penguins are often seen as an indicator species for environmental changes. Photo via Greenpeace/Jiri Rezac.

3. Tail-shakin’ Gentoos. Gentoo penguins live up to their Latin name pygoscelis, meaning brush tailed. They have the most prominent tail of all penguins, which sticks out behind and sweeps from side to side as they walk. Photo by Christopher Michel.

4. Cheeky Chinstraps. Most penguins are considered to be cute, but the chinstrap penguin’s horizontal facial stripe gives it a particular charm. But don’t be fooled – they are far from cuddly. Longtime penguin researcher Ron Naveen notes that unlike their close relatives the gentoo and Adélie penguins, chinstraps “will rush up to you immediately, squawking like crazy, and loudly, as if they need to closely inspect your passports…They will stab if you don’t back off.” Like their close relatives, the Adélies and gentoos, they also have a penchant for stealing rocks from their neighbours to build the nests where they incubate their eggs. Photo by Christopher Michel.

5. Macaroni Penguins. Who could forget the most stylish of all penguins, the Macaroni? Macaroni penguins generally live on and around the subantarctic islands, but one colony lives as far south as the Antarctic Peninsula. These guys definitely win the award for coolest eyebrows. Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki.