Most penguins live in a land of snow and ice. They have feathers, wings, and a beak like other birds. But they are different in two important ways.

   Penguins cannot fly.  A penguin's body is too heavy. Its wings are small, flat, and stiff.

   The feet of a penguin are made for swimming, not walking.  Penguins look funny as they waddle across land.  If they want to move quickly on land, they flop down on their bellies and slide.  In the water, they use their webbed feet to help them swim.

   The way penguins use their wings is different, too.  They use their flat, stiff wings as flippers to help them swim swiftly through the cold water.  They swim as well as the fish, seals, and whales.

   When a penguin is hungry, it dives into the ocean and hunts for food. Penguins eat shrimp like animals called krill.  They also eat squid and fish.

   Penguins lay eggs like all birds.  Some kind of penguins make a nest of pebbles.  One kind holds the egg on its feet.  The penguin covers the egg with a flap of skin to keep it warm.

   Penguin chicks are covered with fluffy feathers when they hatch.  Both the mother and father penguin feed the baby.  When the chick grows adult feathers, it will go to the ocean to get its own food.

Questions About Penguins

1. Why can't a penguin fly?


2. How can a penguin swim so well?


3. Where does a penguin find its food?


4. What do penguins eat?


5. Give two ways a penguin might keep its egg warm.




6. How do penguin chicks look different from their parents?



What Does It Mean?

Read the story to find the missing words.

1. All birds are covered in .


2. A baby penguin is called a .


3. are shrimplike animals eaten by penguins.


4. Penguins when they walk across land.


5. Penguins slide across the ice on their .


6. Penguins have feet for swimming.

Penguins and Robins Are Birds

Fill in the chart to compare a penguin and a robin.

can fly

cannot fly


has feathers

mother lays eggs

has webbed feet

has beak

eats worms

eats krill

feeds baby chicks

one egg

many eggs

has wings

chirps a song