How Do Penguins Communicate? (3 Awesome Ways)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

Suppose you think of cow mooing, dog barking or cat meowing. In that case, these are all animal vocalizations we are familiar with compared to penguins.

Penguins employ a variety of communication methods, including body language, vocalization, and various vocal tones, to convey their feelings.

However, they do communicate if they want to get in touch with other members of their colony, mate with a female, show their strength, or take care of their young.

When another penguin tries to steal their mate, nesting area, or eggs, they can become quite hostile.

Anger is a way penguins communicate, and they are masters of it.

In order to keep other penguins away from their nest or from their mate, penguins will bark or bray. 

How Do Penguins Communicate?

How Do Penguins Communicate

Penguins make a lot of noise when they’re on the ground.

These vocalizations, which sound like squawking or a high-pitched braying and differ greatly from those made by other birds, are emitted by unique structures in their throat.

Male and female penguins of the same species Aptenodytes use a special organ, the syrinx, to make noise.

Three distinct types of penguin cries can be distinguished.

1. The contact call

This aids in the identification of colony members.

Emperor and king penguins communicate using a contact call that may be heard from one km away.

As a result, penguins can recognize their mates and chicks by making this call.

When parents have to feed a specific chick, they pay attention only to the screams of their own offspring.

This is especially true in nurseries, where children are housed in close quarters.

When a penguin is separated from the rest of its group, it will make contact calls to stay in touch.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can penguins swim

2. The display call

This is used within a colony. Individual recognition and territorial recognition must be addressed in the call.

This is a territorial, physical, sexual, and individual recognition cry.

The males trumpet and swing their heads to demonstrate that they have control over a particular nesting spot.

Pairs of penguins vocalize with each other and with the rest of the penguins in their colony to communicate.

Throughout the breeding season, the males will continue to put up these displays. Penguins use agonistic cries to demonstrate their aggressiveness during conflicts.

For their defensive, submissive, or aggressive postures, penguins have developed several physical displays.

This means that penguins, like humans, communicate through physical movements rather than sign language.

They use their flippers or heads as weapons to defend their territory.

Mating pairs dip their heads towards each other’s feet or the nest to show mutual submission and bonding.

Intruders can be frightened away with a display call.

3. The threat call

This is the simplest and intended to protect a territory and alert the rest of the colony to predators that may be lurking nearby.

This is a louder phone call. This is the most basic of the calls, and its sole purpose is to defend penguins.

It’s also a warning call for predators that might go after the penguins’ eggs or young penguin chicks.

In large colonies, individuals use regular contact vocalizations to communicate with one another or their young, as the case may be.

Male and female vocalizations differ because males tend to play a more important part in courtship.

For example, a male will start calling a female when he is interested in her.

Other males will utilize the vocalization as a cue to locate the bird who made the first move.

Because larger penguins are more likely to make lower-pitched vocalizations, they are more desirable to females.

Also check out this article on can penguins breathe underwater

Can Penguins Talk To Each Other?

Penguins can talk to each other. When they’re trying to get a message over by voice, they’re quite vocal.

Whatever the reason, a penguin’s vocal call can sound like either an angry bray or an agonizing screech.

The loud noises also serve as a deterrent to predators after the penguins’ eggs or chicks, depending on the time of year.

Also, penguins use their loud squeaks to warn one another of predators that may be lurking nearby.

The sounds that their chicks produce are likewise familiar to their parents. Additionally, penguins use vocal communication to choose a spouse during courtship.

Can Penguins Understand Each Other?

Penguins can understand each other and can communicate with one another.

They communicate with one another not only through singing but also through displays.

Penguins also communicate with one another through their body movements.

For example, the penguins perform this dance to attract a mate by stretching their necks and spreading their wings to move them quickly.

Once a penguin has successfully attracted a female, he will move his flippers or swing his head to show ownership of a nesting site.

As a warning to other penguins, this exhibit is also on display.

When a male and a female penguin pair up, they put on a show for the other penguins by rubbing their bills and necks together to demonstrate that they are a pair.

Also, to show submission or reduce aggression, penguins will bow down and point to each other’s bills or nests.

A pair’s ability to recognize one another improves thanks to the bowing display.

Even while raising their chicks and incubating eggs, penguins continue these mutual displays with their partner.

How Do Penguins Send Messages To Each Other?

Penguins use displays, a combination of vocalizations and physical movements, to communicate.

There are many different vocal and visual displays they make to express their nesting territory and mating information.

They also perform nest relieving rituals and recognize partners and chicks.

How Do Penguins Communicate Under Water?

Penguins do communicate with one another while submerged in water.

They do, however, make short vocalizations when diving for prey under the surface of the water.

The bottom phase of the dives had the most vocalizations (73% of the time).

In contrast to the descent and climb, this is where penguins catch the majority of their food.

How Do Penguins Recognize Each Other?

The vast majority of penguins reproduce in big colonies because they are very gregarious animals.

Because penguins seem so similar, they’ve evolved elaborate vocalizations and physical displays to help them communicate and identify one another.

Each penguin’s cry is unique, and male and female vocalizations can be distinguished from one another.

A simple threat call alerts the population when defending a specific region or warning the entire colony of an impending predator.

Once they’ve finished grazing at sea, penguins use their keen sense of smell to locate their mates, and they return year after year to the same nesting spot.

Using their olfactory sense, birds may also find relatives.

Penguins may also utilize their sense of smell to locate former spouses, bolstering the idea that penguins are monogamous.

Do Penguins Make Very Little Noise When Communicating

Penguins are loud when they want to communicate with each other through voice.

A penguin’s vocal call can sound like a loud braying or a shrill scream, depending on why it makes that noise.

Do Penguins Speak To Each Other? 

Penguins speak to each other using vocalization.

The three calls in the vocalization help each bird communicate and recognize each other.


Penguins have a wide variety of means of communicating.

A penguin’s communication style includes vocalizations, body language, and posture when interacting with other penguins.

King and Emperor penguins’ braying noises can be heard up to a km away, proving that penguins are also extremely noisy.

Penguins’ ability to communicate becomes increasingly important as they adapt to harsh surroundings and densely packed colonies.

When they’re rearing their young, their verbal and physical display helps keep them safe from other penguins.

For example, Penguins use loud noises to warn one another about predators.

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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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