Can Penguins Live In Warm Weather? (Tips to Know)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

Certain penguin species prefer warm climates, such as the Galapagos Islands, where the average annual temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Compared to penguins that live in colder areas, their fat layers are thinner in these birds.

Therefore, warmer areas are home to more penguins than colder climates.

Spheniscus and Eudyptula penguins are the only two penguin genera that survive in warmer regions.

The naked skin on the four Spheniscus species’ black and white heads, as well as a black feather stripe down their sides, set them apart from other penguin species

One of these, the Galapagos penguin, may be found practically on the equator, as it is the furthest north.

On the other hand, Eudyptula, a single species, is only found in Australia and New Zealand.

What Is The Ideal Temperature For Penguins To Live In?

Can Penguins Live In Warm Weather

All penguins have a body temperature between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).

However, they can live in temperatures from 32 degrees Celsius in Patagonia to -76 degrees Fahrenheit (-60 degrees Celsius) in Antarctica.

Nearly 85% of a bird’s insulation is made up of feathers, and in warm weather, that insulation can make things a little toasty.

Can Penguins Adapt To Warm Weather?

Some penguins can live in warm climates, but not all of them.

These penguins may have difficulty staying cool in hot weather.

On hot, sunny days, Galapagos penguins adjust their standing posture.

They protect their fins and flippers from the sun by bending forward and stretching them to the sides.

This posture allows them to stay cool by allowing heat to escape from their flippers’ undersides and the skin on their feet.

They also reduce their body temperature by panting.

Breeding habits is another way they’ve adapted to the heat.

The water temperature in the Galapagos Islands fluctuates year to year, making it difficult for the penguins to survive.

There is less food for them when the water temperature is excessively high. This can lead to a temporary halt in reproduction, which is beneficial for the species’ long-term survival.

They lay their eggs in cracks, caverns, and crevices in rocks to keep the light off of them.

The warm water has the added benefit of allowing them to forage for food even as they are in the process of molting.

Most penguin species do not hunt while molting due to frigid water temperatures. Therefore underweight birds may face starvation if food is short.

It’s easy for Galapagos penguins because of their geographical location.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on how do penguins communicate

Why Can Penguins Not Live In Hot Places?

They are aquatic creatures adapted to living at sea. However, warm-blooded creatures require adequate insulation to survive in water.

Their feathers are short and ridged, forming an air trap. Which is comparable to wearing a dry suit.

Any heat generated by the bird is retained between the base layer of feathers and the top layer of skin, which acts as an excellent insulator when the bird is submerged.

This makes it extremely difficult for them to maintain a comfortable temperature in hot locations.

Couples that are extremely heated due to their body fat. Additionally, not all penguin species can survive in a warm temperature, as some are strictly specialized to a cooler climate.

What Penguins Can Live In A Warm Climate?

Spheniscus and Eudyptula penguins are the only two penguin genera that survive in warmer regions.

The four Spheniscus species can be identified by their naked skin on their black and white heads and a black feathered stripe down their flanks.

The Galapagos penguin is the most northerly of all, inhabiting the equator. Eudyptula is a single species found in Australia and New Zealand.

1. Galapagos Penguin

Of all tropical penguins, the Galapagos penguin, Spheniscus mendiculus, is by far the most tropical.

There are less than 1,000 breeding pairs of this scarce penguin species.

With a bodyweight of fewer than four kilograms, Galapagos penguins are the lightest members of the Spheniscus family.

These penguins eat mostly mullet and sardines, which are small schooling fish. The coastal water’s surface temperature ranges from 59 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Galapagos penguins’ primary prey does not thrive in warm seas.

2. Magallanic Penguin

The Magellanic penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus, is the only migratory species of Spheniscus and is found exclusively in the Falkland Islands, Chile, and Argentina.

The average height and weight of these little penguins are 2 feet and 11 pounds.

Anchovies, sardines, and other tiny fish are stapling diets for Magellanic penguins.

The African penguin is the closest living relative of the Spheniscus, as it is the only Spheniscus species that feeds away from the coast.

3. African Penguin

The South African waters are home to the African penguin, Spheniscus demersus.

Over two feet in height and seven pounds in weight are typical weights for a mature bird in this species.

Anchovy is their primary food source. They spawn in tunnels dug into coastal rock cracks and cliff faces.

With their braying calls, African penguins are known as “Jackass penguins” because of how much they converse with one another. 

4. The Humboldt Penguin

South American islands are home to the Humboldt penguin, a species known as Spheniscus humboldti, which dwells on the shores of Peru and Chile.

Like most Spheniscus penguins, these birds reach a maximum height of 2 feet and a weight of 9 pounds.

Humboldt penguins may breed in the desert or hot and humid environments.

Small schooling fish like anchovies and sardines are their primary food source. They usually hunt near the beach.

5. Fairy Penguin

The smallest penguin is the Antipodean fairy or little penguin, Eudyptula minor.

There are only 16-inch penguins in existence, and they weigh about 2 pounds.

These nocturnal penguins are distinguished from the rest of the family by their hunched-over, more horizontal stance when on land.

They reproduce in coastal burrows during the day and spend the night hunting for tiny fish near the shore.

Also check out this article I wrote on can penguins swim

Can Penguins Live In The Desert?

Some species of penguins spend part of the year in the desert.

For example, hundreds of thousands of Magellanic penguins congregate at Punta Tombo,

Argentina, each year to raise their young amid wind-whipped coastal Patagonia. It is the world’s second-largest penguin colony after Antarctica.

However, for most desert creatures, maintaining water is the most difficult challenge.

Even though major alterations to anatomy and physiology may be required, penguins have evolved to be water-efficient due to their status as marine creatures.

In addition, because diurnal animals suffer from excessive heat, these penguins must be nocturnal.

How Do Penguins Protect Themselves In Unfavorable Weather?

Even though penguins have feathers to help keep them warm, they don’t perform so well in the water, where they spend most of their time!

This is because, while submerged, they have a layer of fat just beneath the surface of their skin.

It also serves as an important energy reserve in the form of fat.

The thick covering on a penguin’s back keeps him warm when he’s swimming in the ocean.

However, when they’re on land, their feathers’ primary purpose is to keep them warm.

There is a fine woolly down under a penguin’s feathers, as opposed to the long, flat feathers of a bird of prey.

When a penguin emerges from the sea, its feathers are excellent at shedding water.

It has overlapping panels that help streamline the boat’s profile in the water and cut down on wind resistance when it’s on land.

Even in extreme cold, penguins’ feathers can be puffed out to capture more air and provide even greater insulation from the elements.

Fluffing their feathers even more when hot (such as at or above freezing point! ), penguins can release trapped warm air and cool down.

As a result, the feather density of penguins is the highest of any bird.

In order to incubate their eggs with the least amount of exposure to chilly air, male emperor penguins form large groups called “huddles” to stay close to each other.

This can reduce heat loss by half, allowing penguins to maintain a core temperature of 37°C even when the outside air temperature is -30°C or lower.

Can Penguins Get Heatstroke

Penguins can get heatstroke if the temperature of the atmosphere becomes hotter than they can accommodate.


Penguins can be found all across the world, even in the tropics.

Warm-climate penguins prefer to stay close to the ocean since the air is too cold for them.

But, with their waterproof feathers on the outside, they also manage to keep themselves freezing cold.

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About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


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