Penguin, a subfamily of web-footed, imperfectly winged birds, inhabiting the seas around the rocky coasts, islands, and ice fields of the southern Pacific ocean, and the extreme portions of South America and Africa. Some of the earlier writers give this name to the auk (alca, Linn.) of the arctic seas, but it will here be restricted to its more modern application to the antarctic subfamily. - In the genus apteno-dytes (Forst.) the bill is slender, longer than the head, compressed on the sides, and slightly curved at the point, which is acute; the upper mandible is clothed with short close-set plumes as far as the nostrils, which are in a lateral groove in the middle of the bill, and the lower is covered with a smooth naked skin; the wings are very small, fin-shaped, without quill feathers, having only short imbricated plumes with flattened shafts, and are unfit for flight; the tail is very short and flat, of narrow rigid feathers; the tarsi very short and flattened; the toes short and depressed, the anterior united by a web, and the hind one very small and almost entirely connected to the inner side of the tarsus; the claws large, flat, and slightly curved.
As in the other genera, the breast bone is deeply incised behind on each side; the scapula is large and broad, and flat behind; the bones of the forearm and arm are very flat, the former making with the latter a rather obtuse angle; the feet are very far back, and the whole posterior surface of the tarsus touches the ground when the bird stands; the bones are heavy, filled with marrow, and without air cavities. The Patagonian penguins of Shaw and Pennant were different birds to which the same name had been given; to avoid confusion G. R. Gray calls one the emperor and the other the king penguin, or A. Forsteri and A. Pennantii. In the former the length is 50 in. and the bill 5, in the latter 44 and 4 1/2; the general color of both is slate above and white below, with the head and throat black, the latter in the first species divided in front by a point of the white feathers of the chest, and in the second ending in a blunt point; there is an orange-yellow stripe on the sides of the head, descending and passing gradually in the former and suddenly in the latter into the white of the chest.
The plumage is soft and close, with a silvery gloss below, this part being used by fur dealers for tippets and collars; the neck is short and stout, the skin hard and thick, and the belly loaded with fat. They are found in immense numbers about the straits of Magellan, the Falkland islands, and the eastern groups of the South Pacific islands; they arrange themselves when on shore (which is only during the breeding season) in regular ranks like soldiers, classed strictly according as they are young, moulting, incubating, or with perfect plumage, those of one class not being permitted to intrude upon another. They present a strange appearance as they sit upright; they employ their wings like anterior limbs on land, crawling along on the belly pretty fast to and from their breeding places in the manner of quadrupeds; they are excellent swimmers, and fly swiftly under water, using their wings as fins, and breasting the most violent waves; though stupid and rather helpless, they often boldly attack intruders on their breeding places, inflicting severe wounds with their sharp bills; the food is principally animal, consisting of fishes and crustaceans.
The eggs are laid on the ground or in holes, and are hatched by keeping them close between the thighs; the males collect food for the females, which become very fat during incubation; the young birds also get very fat before they quit the breeding places, which are covered with excrements and remains of dead birds, accumulated into heaps of guario during many successive • years. The flesh of the penguin, though black and fishy, is considered eatable by hungry mariners. - In the genus catarrhactes (Briss.) the bill is moderate, strong, compressed, grooved on the sides, and slightly hooked at the tip, with the end of the lower mandible truncated; the tail is long, of narrow rigid feathers; the toes are long and strong. Several species are described, inhabiting in small parties the southern ocean, in open water or on fields of ice, sometimes more than 300 m. from land; they go to the shore only in the breeding season; they are more active, if possible, than the preceding genus, and swim and dive with great quickness; their cries are harsh and discordant, resembling the bray of a donkey.
The crested penguin (G. chrysocome, Gmel.) is as large as a stout duck, black above and white below, with a yellowish white crest on each side of the head, and red bill and feet; it inhabits the vicinity of the Falkland islands and Tasmania. - In the genus spheniscus (Briss.) the bill is much as in the last, with a more hooked tip and the nostrils uncovered in the middle of the lateral groove; the tail and tarsi are very short, and the toes and claws long. The species are few, found about the rocky islands of the southern ocean, and on the W. coast of South America and Africa; the habits are the same as in the preceding genera. The Cape or jackass penguin (S. demersus, Gmel.), from the Cape of Good Hope, is black above and white below, with a white stripe over the eyes, the throat black, and a black line on the breast continued along each flank; the bill is brown, with a white band across the middle of its length; the length is 21 in.; its common name is derived from the resemblance of its voice to a bray. It comes to the surface of the water to breathe" with such a spring and dives again so quickly, that it seems more like a fish leaping for sport than a bird.
The Magellanic penguin (8. Ma-gellanicus, Forst.) is 2 ft. long, and sometimes weighs 20 or 30 lbs.; the general color is black above and white below, with white streaks on the sides of the head and a black band on the breast; it is found about the southern parts of South America, and is well known to navigators, who have long been in the habit of invading its breeding places, and killing the birds for food or for sport.
King Penguin (Aptenodytes Pennantii).
Crested Penguin (Catarrhactes chrysocome).
Cape Penguin (Spheniscus demersus).