Types Of Penguins: A List Of All Penguin Species, With Pictures And Facts

Penguins: types, identification, where found & conservation status. List of all types of penguins with pictures and facts.

Types of Penguins

There are 19 types of penguin. They are the: emperor penguin, king penguin, southern rockhopper penguin, macaroni penguin, eastern rockhopper penguin, northern rockhopper penguin, fiordland penguin, snares penguin, royal penguin, erect-crested penguin, little penguin, yellow-eyed penguin, adélie penguin, chinstrap penguin, gentoo penguin, african penguin, humboldt penguin, magellanic penguin and galapagos penguin.

(Scientists disagree over the exact number of penguin species. Some argue that there are more than 19 penguin species, while others argue that there should be fewer. This is because some species are so closely related that by some definitions they are subspecies of the same species rather than individual species.)

  • You can either scroll down the page to see pictures and facts on every species of penguin, or use the links in the list below to go directly to the species you want to view.

List of Penguins Grouped By Genera

In the list below we’ve included the 19 penguin species that appear in the Catalogue Of Life, a global index of species. Click on the name of the penguin you want to see!

Great Penguins – Genus Aptenodytes

Crested Penguins – Genus Eudyptes

Little Penguins – Genus Eudyptula

Yellow Eyed Penguin – Genus Megadyptes

Brush-Tailed Penguins – Genus Pygoscelis

Banded Penguins – Genus Spheniscus

At the bottom of the page you’ll find a ‘penguin chart‘. You can use the sortable columns of this chart to order the penguins by genus, weight, height, endangered status and more. Quick link: Penguin Species Chart


All About Penguins

Penguins are aquatic, flightless birds in the family Spheniscidae.

Several species of penguin live on Antarctica, the coldest and windiest continent on Earth. Many others make their home on cold, sub-Antarctic islands.

However, not all penguins live in such inhospitable conditions. Some are found in temperate regions, and one species, the endangered Galapagos penguin, lives near the Equator.

On this page you’ll meet every species of penguin alive today. We’ve included information on where each of the species lives, what it looks like, and its IUCN conservation status.

kinds of penguins
These are emperor penguins. On this page you’ll find out about these and every other type of penguin! Scroll down to see a list of all penguins.

How Many Types Of Penguin Are There?

Scientists disagree over the exact number of different types of penguin. On this page we’ve included the 19 species currently listed in the Catalogue Of Life – an online database of all living things.

(We’ve also included information on penguins not found in the Catalogue Of Life.)

The problem faced by taxonomists (scientists who work out how animals are classified) is that some types of penguin are very closely related. So closely, in fact, that they could be considered to be subspecies of the same species, rather than entirely different species.

An example of this is the rockhopper penguin. Some scientists believe that there is a single species of rockhopper penguin and that this species has several subspecies

Other scientists consider there to be sufficient differences between each type of rockhopper penguin for them to be considered separate species.

With that in mind, let’s meet the penguins …

(For information on subspecies and how animals are classified, visit this page: Animal Classification.)


Related Pages on Active Wild


List of Every Type of Penguin with Pictures and Facts

Great Penguins – Genus Aptenodytes

Emperor Penguin

  • Scientific name: Aptenodytes forsteri
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

emperor penguin

The emperor penguin is the largest type of penguin, being both the heaviest and the tallest species. It is the fifth-largest of all bird species. As well as its large size, its distinguishing features include orange-yellow feathers around its ears and shoulders, and a lower bill that is orange-pink in color.

The emperor penguin is closely related to the king penguin.

The emperor penguin is only found on the continent of Antarctica. Unlike all other penguins, it breeds during the Antarctic winter. The eggs are incubated by the males, who huddle together in large groups for warmth.

King Penguin

  • Scientific name: Aptenodytes patagonicus
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

king penguin

The king penguin is the world’s second-largest penguin species. Like the closely-related emperor penguin, it has a white chest that is orange-yellow towards the neck. The king penguin has bright orange ‘ear patches’.

The king penguin is found in several Antarctic and sub-Antarctic locations, including the Falkland, Crozet and Prince Edward Island groups, Tierra del Fuego and the continent of Antarctica itself.


Crested Penguins – Genus Eudyptes

Southern Rockhopper Penguin

southern rockhopper penguin

  • Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysocome
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

Rockhopper penguins are relatively small penguins. Distinguishing features of rockhopper penguins include: red eyes, orange beaks, spiky black head feathers, yellow eyebrows and yellow crests.

Rockhopper penguins are found on various south Atlantic and Indian Ocean island groups, including Tristan de Cunha, the coastlines of Argentina and Chile, and on Campbell Island in New Zealand.

The southern rockhopper is found on several islands in the South Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. As its name suggests, it is found further south than the northern variety.

The southern rockhopper penguin has a narrower supercilium (the stripe of yellow over its eyes) and shorter yellow plumes than the northern rockhopper.

Eastern Rockhopper Penguin

  • Scientific name: Eudyptes filholi
  • Conservation status: Unassessed

MacquarieIslandRockhoppers

The eastern rockhopper penguin is often considered to be a subspecies of the southern rockhopper penguin rather than a separate species. It is found on several islands in the sub-Antarctic regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including Prince Edward, Crozet and Kerguelen Islands.

Northern Rockhopper Penguin

Eudyptes moseleyi -Zoologischer Garten Berlin, Germany-8a

  • Scientific name: Eudyptes moseleyi
  • Conservation status: Endangered

Looking similar in appearance to the closely-related southern rockhopper, the northern rockhopper differs by having longer yellow plumes and a wider supercilium (eye-stripe).

The northern rockhopper penguin is found further north than its southern counterpart. 85% (or more) of the world’s northern rockhoppers are found on the islands of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago and Gough Island in the Atlantic Ocean.

The world population of northern rockhopper penguins has declined by 90% since the 1950’s, and the species is now endangered.

Macaroni Penguin

macaroni penguin

  • Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysolophus
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The macaroni penguin has a yellow crest, a black face and red bill. The species was named by English sailors; the penguin’s bright yellow crest reminded them of ‘macaronis’ – followers of an 18th century fashion in which men wore large wigs and flamboyant clothing.

The Macaroni penguin is found in several locations in the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans, including the Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard, South Georgia and Prince Edward Island groups.

The Macaroni penguin is the world’s commonest penguin, with a global population of around 6.3 million breeding pairs. However, the species’ conservation status is ‘vulnerable’ due to recent population declines.

Fiordland Penguin

Fiordland Crested Penguin - Stewart Island - New Zealand (38188607005)

  • Scientific name: Eudyptes pachyrynchus
  • Conservation status: Unassessed

The Fiordland penguin is a crested penguin. It is only found in New Zealand, and is named after the Fiordland region in the southwest of the country’s South Island.

A mid-sized penguin species, the Fiordland penguin has a yellow crest and an orange bill. Unlike the closely-related erect-crested and Snares penguins, the Fiordland penguin lacks an area of bare skin at the base of its bill.

Snares Penguin

  • Scientific name: Eudyptes robustus
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

snares penguin

Snares penguin is a species of crested penguin found on (and named after) The Snares, a group of islands off New Zealand’s South Island.

The Snares penguin has a yellow eyebrow-crest, and a heavy red bill. At the base of the bill is an area of bare, pinkish-red skin.

Royal Penguin

  • Scientific name: Eudyptes schlegeli
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

Photo of a Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) on Macquarie Island

The royal penguin is very closely related to the macaroni penguin. The main difference between the two birds is that the royal penguin has a white face. Many scientists consider them to be the same species.

The royal penguin is found on Macquarie Island (an Australian island in the Pacific Ocean) and surrounding islands.

Erect-Crested Penguin

  • Scientific name: Eudyptes sclateri
  • Conservation status: Endangered

Eudyptes sclateri Buller

The erect-crested penguin is found on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands of New Zealand. It is medium-sized, and has a yellow crest extending from its bill to the back of its head. As its name suggests, the crest points upwards. The species is said to be the only crested penguin to be able to raise and lower its crest.

The erect-crested penguin is endangered. The population of mature erect-crested penguins is thought to be around 150,000.


Little Penguins – Genus Eudyptula

Little Penguin

  • Scientific name: Eudyptula minor
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

fairy penguin

Standing at around 30 cm (12 in.) tall, the little penguin is the world’s smallest species of penguin.

The species can be identified by its small size, dark bill, and the blue tinge of its plumage.

Little penguins are found in New Zealand (where they are also known as little blue penguins), and Australia (where they are also known as fairy penguins).

As with the rockhopper penguin, there is some disagreement over exactly how many species of little penguin there are.

Three very similar types of little penguin exist (little penguin, Australian little penguin and white-flippered penguin). Some scientists consider them all to be subspecies of the little penguin. Others consider them to be either two or three separate species.

The Australian little penguin is found mainly on islands off the southern coast of Australia. There are also breeding grounds on the mainland.

The white-flippered penguin has white markings on its flippers. It is found on Banks Peninsula of New Zealand’s South Island, and on Motunau Island, a nature reserve that lies off the coast of South Island.


Yellow-Eyed Penguin – Genus Megadyptes

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

  • Scientific name: Megadyptes antipodes
  • Conservation status: Endangered

yellow-eyed penguin

The yellow-eyed penguin is the fourth-largest penguin. As its name suggests, it has yellow eyes and a yellow band that runs from eye to eye behind its head. It has a pink bill and pink feet.

The species is found on the coastline of New Zealand’s South Island and also on the Auckland and Campbell Islands.


Brush-Tailed Penguins – Genus Pygoscelis

Adélie Penguin

  • Scientific name: Pygoscelis adeliae
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

Adélie Penguin

The Adélie penguin gets its name from Adélie Land, a region of Antarctica named after the wife of French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville. Dumont d’Urville also discovered the Adélie penguin.

The Adélie penguin is a medium-sized penguin species. It can be recognized by the distinctive white ring around its eyes, and by the short black feathers that cover most of its bill.

The Adélie penguin is found further south than nearly all other birds. It lives all around the coast of Antarctica.

You can find out more about this species here: Adélie penguin Facts

Chinstrap Penguin

  • Scientific name: Pygoscelis antarctica
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

Chinstrap Penguin

The chinstrap penguin is a mid-sized penguin. It is easily identified by the narrow black strip running under its face. It is this feature that gives the species its name. Other distinguishing features include yellow-brown eyes, and a black ‘cap’ and bill.

The chinstrap penguin is found in many locations in the Southern Ocean, and the southern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Areas in which it is found include the Falkland Islands, Argentina, Chile and Antarctica.

Gentoo Penguin

  • Scientific name: Pygoscelis papua
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

gentoo penguins.

The Gentoo penguin is the third-largest species of penguin. It can be identified by a white stripe that runs from eye to eye over the top of its head. Other distinguishing features include a bright orange bill and orange feet.

The Gentoo penguin is found in several island groups in the sub-Antarctic region, including the Falkland Islands and South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean, and the Kerguelen Islands (also called the desolation Islands) in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Gentoo penguin’s closest relative is the Adélie penguin.


Banded Penguins – Genus Spheniscus

African Penguin

  • Scientific name: Spheniscus demersus
  • Conservation status: Endangered

African Penguin

The African penguin is found on islands off the south-western coast of Africa. There are two breeding colonies on the African mainland itself. These are located near Cape Town in South Africa.

The African penguin is one of the smaller types of penguin. It has a black face and bill. On its white chest is a black marking in the shape of an upside-down U.

Above each of the African penguin’s eyes is a patch of pink skin. This is an adaption to help with thermoregulation (i.e. keeping the body at the correct temperature). When it is warm, more blood is sent to this area of skin. The blood is cooled by the air, bringing the penguin’s body temperature down. The extra blood also makes the pink area look darker in color.

Humboldt Penguin

  • Scientific name: Spheniscus humboldti
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

Humboldt Penguin

The Humboldt penguin is a medium-sized penguin. It has a black face that is surrounded by a strip of white. Under its bill is a patch of fleshy pink skin. Like all banded penguins, the Humboldt penguin’s white chest is surrounded by a black band.

A South American species, the Humboldt penguin is found on the coasts of Chile and Peru. It is occasionally also seen further north in Ecuador and Columbia.

The Humboldt penguin takes its name from the Humboldt Current. This is a current of cold water that flows northwards along the western coast of South America. The Humboldt Current itself was discovered by the Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt.

Magellanic Penguin

  • Scientific name: Spheniscus magellanicus
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

Magellanic Penguin

The Magellanic penguin is the commonest of the banded penguins. It is a medium-large penguin with a black band running across its white chest and under its wings. Its face is black with a white border.

The Magellanic penguin is found on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of southern South America and on the Falkland Islands.

Galapagos Penguin

  • Scientific name: Spheniscus mendiculus
  • Conservation status: Endangered
Galapagos Penguin
Juvenile Galápagos penguin without the characteristic markings of a banded penguin.

The Galapagos penguin is only found on the Galapagos Islands – a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. The Galapagos Islands lie on the Equator, thereby making the Galapagos penguin the only penguin found in the northern hemisphere in the wild.

The Galapagos penguin is the second smallest type of penguin after the little penguin(s). It has a black face which is ringed by a narrow white line. Its white chest is surrounded by a black band. This black chest band is a feature shared by all the banded penguins, of which the Galapagos penguin is one.


Penguin Species Chart

The chart below contains all 19 penguin species that are currently recognized by the IUCN. Click on the title row to sort the chart.

Penguin SpeciesOther NamesScientific NamePhotoType Of PenguinMax. WeightMax HeightConservation Status
Emperor PenguinAptenodytes forsteriEmperor Penguins with chicksGreat Penguin45.4 kg / 100 lb130 cm / 51 inNear Threatened
King PenguinAptenodytes patagonicusKing PenguinsGreat Penguin18 kg / 40 lb100 cm / 39 inLeast Concern
Southern Rockhopper PenguinEudyptes chrysocomesouthern rockhopper penguinCrested Penguin3.4 kg / 7.5 lb58 cm / 23 inVulnerable
Macaroni PenguinEudyptes chrysolophusmacaroni penguinCrested Penguin6.4 kg / 14 lb71 cm / 28 inVulnerable
Eastern Rockhopper PenguinEudyptes filholiMacquarieIslandRockhoppersCrested Penguin4.5 kg / 10 lb56 cm / 22 inUnassessed
Northern Rockhopper PenguinMoseley's rockhopper penguinEudyptes moseleyinorthern rockhopper penguinCrested Penguin4.5 kg / 10 lb56 cm / 22 inEndangered
Fiordland PenguinFiordland Crested PenguinEudyptes pachyrynchusFiordland PenguinCrested Penguin5.95 kg / 13.1 lb60 cm / 24 inVulnerable
Snares PenguinEudyptes robustussnares penguinCrested Penguin4 kg / 8.82 lb70 cm / 27.5 inVulnerable
Royal PenguinEudyptes schlegeliPhoto of a Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) on Macquarie IslandCrested Penguin8 kg / 17.6 lb76 cm / 30 inNear Threatened
Erect-Crested PenguinEudyptes sclateriEudyptes sclateri BullerCrested Penguin6 kg / 13.2 lb70 cm / 28 inEndangered
Little PenguinAustralian little penguin / fairy penguin / white-flippered penguinEudyptula novaehollandiaelittle penguinLittle Penguin1.5 kg / 3.3 lb33 cm / 13 inLeast Concern
Yellow-Eyed PenguinMegadyptes antipodesyellow-eyed penguinYellow-Eyed Penguin8 kg / 18 lb79 cm / 31 inEndangered
Adélie penguinPygoscelis adeliaeAdélie PenguinBrush-Tailed Penguin6 kg / 13.2 lb71 cm / 28 inLeast Concern
Chinstrap PenguinPygoscelis antarcticaChinstrap Penguin and ChicksBrush-Tailed Penguin5 kg / 11 lb72 cm / 28 inLeast Concern
Gentoo PenguinPygoscelis papuagentoo penguins.Brush-Tailed Penguin8.5 kg / 19 lb90 cm / 35 inLeast Concern
African PenguinJackass PenguinSpheniscus demersusAfrican PenguinBanded Penguin3.5 kg / 7.7 lb70 cm / 28 inEndangered
Humboldt PenguinSpheniscus humboldtiHumboldt PenguinBanded Penguin5.9 kg / 13 lb70 cm / 28 inVulnerable
Magellanic PenguinSpheniscus magellanicusMagellanic PenguinBanded Penguin6.5 kg / 14.3 lb76 cm / 30 inNear Threatened
Galapagos PenguinSpheniscus mendiculus
Galápagos Penguin
Galápagos Penguin
Banded Penguin2.5 kg / 5.5 lb49 cm / 19 inEndangered

Types of Penguins: Conclusion

We hope that you have enjoyed discovering the different types of penguins. Over time we’ll be adding further information about each species, so be sure to check back for more penguin information.


Further Reading

Want to find out more about penguins, birds or the animal kingdom? Check out the following pages!

2 thoughts on “Types Of Penguins: A List Of All Penguin Species, With Pictures And Facts”

    • Hi Pierre,
      Thank you for your comment. The white-flippered penguin is considered by most authorities to be a subspecies of little penguin, which is why we’ve mentioned it in the little penguin section of this page.
      Regards,
      The Active Wild Team

      Reply

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