Do Penguins Live at the North Pole?

penguins-live-north-pole Credit: Saadick Dhansay/CC-BY 2.0

Penguins do not live at the North Pole and never have. They populate only the waters and coastal areas of the Southern Hemisphere, particularly Antarctica.

Although penguins are largely associated with Antarctica, they can also be found on the southern shores of South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. As aquatic birds, they never venture far from the shore. Most penguin species are migratory and go back and forth from Antarctica to the southern tips of other continents, raising their young on sea ice and on coastal lands until the young birds are old enough to swim.

The 16 separate types of penguins living on the planet have a wide size range. With an average height of 13 inches, the Little, or Fairy Penguin, is the smallest, and Emperor Penguins are the largest with an average height of 45 inches.