If we keep confusing them, it may be because of their close characteristics. For example, the relatively small Adélie penguin is often confused with an auk. Overall, both species are (for the most part) black and white birds!
So, penguin or auk? How can we tell immediately who we are dealing with?
One lives in the Northern hemisphere and the other in the South, easy not to confuse! You can find penguins the Antarctic (Southern Hemisphere) while auks live in the Northern Hemisphere.
It must also be said that their physical characteristics are not always very different, making the identification process more difficult. However, since the extinction of the great auk in the middle of the 19th century, only one species of auk remains today: the razorbill, closer to the puffin than to the penguin.
The razorbill has wings which it uses to fly, unlike the penguin which does not fly! However, this auk cannot walk on their feet much because their physiology is only slightly adapted to travel on Earth. Therefore, the adults are often nested in colonies on cliffs overlooking the sea, a strategic place to go underwater fishing. To fish, razorbills only dive from the surface of the water and never in flight, to depths of about 5 to 15 metres. In the aquatic environment, it uses its wings as fins to propel itself.
The penguin, on the other hand, is an excellent swimmer. The Gentoo penguin, one of 18 species of penguins that exist, can swim at up to 35 km/hour. The Emperor penguin can dive to depths of over 500 meters to find food. In addition to its amazing swimming capacities, penguins can walk tens of kilometres. However, unlike auks, they cannot fly.
Now that you are experts in this field, you won't be mistaken the next time you conquer the pack ice to differentiate both species.
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