Penguins aren't all the same. In fact, there's a lot of diversity in physiology, appearance, and where they're distributed. In fact, while all species live in the southern hemisphere, they are not all local to Antarctica. Some even live in temperate regions!

From the top, taxonomically: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Chordata (with a spinal chord), Class Aves (which are birds), Order Sphenisciformes (specifically penguins), Family Spheniscidae (really specifically penguins). From there, there are six genera and about seventeen species.

  • Genus Aptenodytes, the great penguins, include the King Penguin and the Emperor Penguin.
  • Genus Pygoscelis, the brush-tailed penguins, include the Adélie Penguin, the Chinstrap Penguin, and the Gentoo Penguin.
  • Genus Eudyptes, the crested penguins, include the Fiordland Penguin, the Snares Penguin, the Erect-Crested Penguin (endangered), the Rockhopper Penguin, the Royal Penguin, and the Macaroni Penguin.
  • Genus Megadyptes, the large diver penguins, include the Yellow-Eyed Penguin (endangered).
  • Genus Eudyptula, the little penguins, include the Fairy Penguin.
  • Genus Spheniscus, the banded penguins, include the Magellanic Penguin, the Humboldt Penguin, the Galápagos Penguin (which actually lives in the warm Galápagos Islands!; endangered), and the African Penguin (endangered).
Northern Rockhopper
Northern Rockhopper. Credit Arjan Haverkamp.