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Where Do Penguins Live?

African penguins on a sandy beach
Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock

When you visit penguins at the zoo, their home is usually decorated with faux icebergs. This plays into our belief that all penguins live in snowy environments. While some penguins do live in arctic conditions, many don’t.

There are 17 species of penguins, and all of them live in the southern hemisphere, but they don’t all live in Antarctica. Some penguins live in cold temperatures, while others enjoy warmer climates. Some, like the Adelie penguin, spend time in frigid temps only during certain times of the year.

To get an idea of the overall penguin populations, it’s best to look at where you will find penguins and which species hang out there. Of course, some penguins can be found spread across different islands and areas; we’ll cover some of the main places rather than all of them.

Antarctica

Because most of us, at least some time in our lives, have thought that all penguins come from the Arctic, we’ll start there. The most common species of penguin found in Antarctica is the Emperor Penguin. Antarctica is the only location this species calls home.

They’re not alone, though. One other species of penguin that spends some of its time in Antarctica is the Adelie penguin. However, the Emperor penguin is the only one that spends the harsh winters in Antarctica.

New Zealand

The Little Penguin, also called the Blue or Fairy penguin, makes its home in Australia and New Zealand. Much like South Africa, most people picture desert terrain when thinking of Australia—more proof that not all penguins enjoy frigid cold temperatures.

The Fiordland penguin is found only in New Zealand, as is the Yellow-Eyed penguin. The Yellowed-Eyed penguin is the rarest species of penguin in the world.

The Snares penguin makes its home not only on Snares Island but also in New Zealand.

South Africa

When you think of Africa, you picture a warm climate. Warmth may not sound like the typical condition a penguin would like, but the African penguin calls this area home. Interestingly, the African penguin is only found in Africa, and it’s the only species in that country.

Falkland Islands

The Magellanic penguin is found in Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands. Also residing in the Falkland Islands are the King, Gentoo, and Macaroni penguins. Macaroni penguins also live in Argentina and Chile, among other similar areas.

Rockhopper penguins of the southern variety also live in Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands. There are Northern and Eastern of this species living in other areas, as well.

Penguins living on the Falkland Islands share their space with humans. The highest temperatures range below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos penguins are found only on the Galapagos Islands, where temperatures only reach a low of about 66 degrees Fahrenheit. These penguins are happy in the warm island temps.

Other Areas

Penguins are located all over the southern hemisphere. Unless noted above as being only in that specific area, most of the penguins listed reside in more than one general area.

In Northern Chile and Peru, you’ll find the Humbolt penguin. The Erect-Crested penguin makes its home around Auckland and the Campbell Islands. There’s also the Chinstrap penguin, which is found in many locations, including the South Sandwich Islands.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »