Penguins are birds who lost the ability to fly millions of years ago. These birds are such good swimmers that they seem to fly along in the water. They are as graceful and swift underwater as other birds are in the air.
Penguins can attain speeds of 15 miles an hour, using their flippers as paddles, much like other birds use their wings in the air, for these flippers actually developed from wings. Penguins steer and change direction with their feet and tails.
Penguins travel beneath the surface of the water looking for food. All their food comes from the sea, and they hunt fish, shrimp, and squid. Penguins can dive 300 feet down into the water, but they must surface for air.
They spend months at sea without returning to the land. On land, they hop, waddle, walk, or slide on their bellies if they want to go fast. They climb out of the water to rest, to lay their eggs, to raise their young, and to escape enemies.
The female Emperor penguin comes on land, lays one egg on the bare ice, then immediately returns to the ocean. The male keeps the egg warm for two months until it hatches by rolling it onto his webbed feet and covering it with his fatty lower belly. During this two-month period, the male does not eat!