You don’t need to venture deep into the arctic to see penguins in the wild, but you do need to head south. The majority of the world’s penguins live south of the equator, either on Antarctica itself or on the various land masses that surround the world’s wildest continent.
The world’s smallest penguin, the Little Penguin, lives in colonies around Australia’s southern coast. One colony resides at Penneshaw, on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, which is also home to other Australian critters like kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and the rare glossy black cockatoo.
Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
The Galapagos penguin, which lives farther north than any other species of penguin on the planet, is endemic to the Galapagos islands. These birds breed in crevices beneath old lava flows and coexist alongside giant tortoises, sea lions, marine iguanas, green turtles and a multitude of bird species.
New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic
The scattered islands are home to at least five species of penguin, including the erect-crested, yellow-eyed and Fiordland penguins. The islands are also inhabited by several endemic species of albatross, sperm whales and dolphins.
African penguins, also known as jackass penguins and black-footed penguins, is the only penguin species on the continent. These little birds are found on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula, a region also home to southern right whales and great white sharks.
The Antarctic Peninsula is home to half-a-dozen penguin species, including huge colonies of king penguins, adélies, chinstraps, gentoos, and rockhoppers. To see emperor penguins, you must head even farther south across the Antarctic Circle to the coastal pack ice.
At Punta Tombo, on the Patagonian coast of Argentina, more than a million Magellanic penguins have excavated a labyrinth of burrows beneath the sand dunes. The Magellanic penguins also live alongside elephant seals, southern right whales, guanacos, and Andean condors in this gold mine of unique Argentine wildlife.