May 26, 2007


I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.”-Emily Dickenson.
As I nod my head in agreement to that statement, its time I introduced my favourite bird. The penguin. Everyone knows what a penguin is but just to be politically correct and uphold the rules of this blog, a penguin is an aquatic, flightless bird living entirely in the Southern Hemisphere.

Coming to the story behind the name given to this adorable bird. There are many versions to it.

Version 1: The most accepted one is that the term penguin derives from the welsh words pen (head) and gwyn (white), which was used to denote the Great Auk which had white spots in front of its eyes. The penguin was thus named due to its resemblance to the Great Auk.

Version 2: The name 'penguin' was first reliably reported from Newfoundland in a letter of 1578, given in the account of Hakluyt's voyages; but in Newfoundland the name is usually to have been pronounced 'pin-wing'. This accords with another theory, that the bird was originally called the 'pin-wing', with reference to its curiously rudimentary wings. It would also explain why, as early as 1588, the term was being applied also to the southern birds which we know as 'penguins' today, and which also have rudimentary wings but not white heads.

Version 3: It could be derived from the Latin word “pinguis” meaning fat, but this theory doesn’t hold much weight.

The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri): adults average about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (75 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin (also known as the Fairy Penguin or the Blue Penguin), which stands around 40 cm tall (16 in) and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Both can be seen below:

Generally larger penguins retain heat better, and thus inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins are found in temperate or even tropical climates

Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend half of their life on land and half in the oceans.

All penguins are countershaded - that is, they have a white underside and a dark (mostly black) upperside. This is for camouflage. A predator looking up from below (such as an orca or a leopard seal) has difficulty distinguishing between a white penguin belly and the reflective water surface. The dark plumage on their backs camouflages them from above.

Penguins seem to have no fear of humans and have approached groups of explorers without hesitation. This is probably on account of there being no land predators in Antarctica or the nearby offshore islands that prey on or attack penguins. Instead, penguins are at risk at sea from predators such as the leopard seal.

Images in order of apperance:
1. Tux the Linux Mascot
2.The Emperor Penguin
3.The Little Blue Penguin
4. A man meeting a penguin in the Antartic summer
Courtesy: Google Images.


666 said...

Linus Torwalds was bit by a penguin while on a visit to Canberra, Australia. He used this incident to create the adorable Linux logo Tux

Good post S

suramya said...

I'm glad he got bitten :). thank u chief

kp;) said...

...and to relate to your previous post on dandies, we have the The Macaroni Penguin,a feathered Dandy who gets its name from the overdressed gentlemen or macaronies of the 18th century lampooned in the song Yankee Doodle. These London Dandies formed themselves into the Macaroni Club whose members sported feathers as their badge..n a fact to add, the Macaroni penguin lays two eggs, eating the bout makin ur own meal!...

suramya said...

wow!!!!!!! never knew the penguin ate its own. and loved the parallels :)

yogsma said...

wow..awesome..they are cool..and that Linux is the most beautiful. Awe..they are birds..wonder about their biological classification..they have wings ..but can't fly their half of their life on earth and half life in sea....till the time I was considering them mammals.strange ! strange!!

suramya said...

I can understand ur awe :), I love this bird, its a darling :)

Moi said...

Remember Kelvinator's "it's the coolest one" ??? have loved them ever since.......its such a cute post..the minute i saw the post i went awwwwww!!! reminded moi of The March of Penguins fact the second pic here is from the movie.......its a brilliantly made film. Hats off to National Geographic...Generations after generations swear by them. Am yet to see "Happy Feet" but will love to....Penguins, elephants, dolphins , manatees and pandas.....make my day anyday...Thanx Su : it's a beautiful way to start my Sunday!!! :)

suramya said...

moi : yes I do rememeber that ad :), happy feet is an adorable movie, tap dancing and the penguins, sigh, u must watch it.

Raghu Ram Prasad said...

what a beautiful Penguin photographs and good information about it ,,,,,,, nice

suramya said...

thank u , and welcome to semantica

Crow said...

cute pengiun pic

barry said...

not sure where you are - just happened on your penguin moment - i'm big on them - g onna post one on my little blog momentarily - maybe see you there?

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