What Is the Penguin's Niche?

Penguins live in various habitats, including remote, cold regions and warm areas near the equator, but all of them are found in islands in the Southern hemisphere. They need to stay close to bodies of water to hunt food.

Some penguins survive in extremely cold places, whereas others thrive on small islands and sandy shores. Many of them live in the coastal areas of South America, Australia, Africa and New Zealand. They typically dwell near cold water currents to feed on fish, squid, krill and crustaceans, as the currents can haul a large number of marine animals to the surface.

Penguins spend plenty of time in the water hunting for food, making their bodies properly adapted to water. Their feathers allow them to move easily and also help maintain their normal body temperature by preventing the water from immersing them. On land, they use available resources such as grass, rocks and sticks to create their nests and burrows for laying eggs and caring for the young.

As of 2015, the natural habitats of penguins have been changing due to global warming. The sheets of ice where they settle have melted over time, thus reducing their habitable areas and making it hard for them to reproduce. Higher temperatures also affect their survival, as their bodies are not well suited to extreme heat.