Celebrated on January 20th
The Emperor Penguin is the tallest of all penguin species, reaching as tall as 120 cm (47 in) in height.
Yes, penguins are birds. Lots of people think penguins are mammals rather than birds because they can’t fly, and we see them swimming underwater or waddling on land instead. But there are other birds that can’t fly (like emus, ostriches and cassowaries), and penguins fulfil all the biological requirements to be classified as birds – they have feathers, they lay eggs and they’re warm-blooded. They’re just seabirds that are very well adapted to their unusual lives, which is why they’re so different from other birds.
Once a year, penguins experience a catastrophic molt. (Yes, that’s the official term.) Most birds molt (lose feathers and regrow them) a few at a time throughout the year, but penguins lose them all at once. They can’t swim and fish without feathers, so they fatten themselves up beforehand to survive the 2–3 weeks it takes to replace them.