Many times, when we think about penguins, we tend to associate them with the wonderful movie called “Happy Feet”! Penguins are considered very inquisitive because of the way they are made, and yet even in that, they have these underlying features that we cannot see, but they are there. People generally wonder whether penguins have feathers or fur, so, in this article, we’ll answer this question.
So, do penguins have feathers or fur? Penguins do have feathers, but they are different from regular bird feathers. These are highly dense short feathers. Some people often confuse these short feathers as fur, but this isn’t true. The outer part of these feathers is waterproof, whereas the inner part is highly insulating and keeps them warm in chilling cold temperatures.
Penguins are actually considered to be birds, so when you think about birds, you automatically connect it with flying. However, with penguins, their feathers are used for swimming in the water.
Like I said before, the outside of the feathers is waterproof, but here’s the great thing about the inside of a penguins’ feather. They are used to keep the penguins warm because sometimes, the water has frozen- over, and that’s when the feathers become such a vital part of the penguin’s survival.
It would be very limited to nil if a penguin tried to survive in freezing water without the use of their feathers to continue to stay warm.
So if you ever get the opportunity to get close enough to a penguin, you will be able to see that this species has very short feathers, but they are definitely there!
Now, I have mentioned how the feathers of a penguin play a major part in allowing penguins to swim and stay warm under freezing conditions, but that is not the only capability that their feathers have.
Penguin’s feathers also work wonders when swimming through the water. As far as being able to fly above water in the air using their feathers, they cannot do that at all, because all their flying is done underwater.
Penguin feathers are waterproof and windproof
Another aspect of penguin feathers is that their feathers never ever retain ice on them, no matter how cold the weather or how low the temperature drops.
According to new research, that is because penguins have very miniature size wrinkles in their feathers, which causes ice to slide right off of the penguin’s elaborate build.
It seems as if penguins were created so meticulosity that the next time you see one, you are going to really analyze it and take time out to study the uniqueness of their beauty. The different colors of a penguin are fascinating to look upon with the orange beak and yellow neck and the black flipping wings.
If you are wondering what the feathers of a penguin feel like. Studies have shown that they are very thick and yet very fluffy. Believe it or not, the penguins actually groom their own feathers, and this is called oiling feathers.
This oiling of stiff feathers makes them windproof that helps them during freezing snowstorms and high-speed cold winds. Oil also reduces friction in the water, which helps them to swim smoothly at a fast pace.
The way it is done is that the penguins use their bill to reach the back of their tail (which has the oil gland). Then, they dip their bill into the gland and literally soothe it over their feathers. That is so amazing! They do not need to make any hair appointments or go to any barbershops because they can literally groom their-selves.
Penguins shed their feathers every once in a year
Keep in mind, once a year, after the breeding is done, all of their feathers begin to shed away. Ultimately all of the old feathers are pushed out and you have nothing except the new feathers.
During this time, the penguins dare not to get into the water because of the shedding process and the old feathers continue to come out in big patches. Yes, it is an interesting process, and if you ever get the opportunity to see this taking place, you will look at penguins as the amazing birds that they really are.
The spread of feathers over penguins body
If you watch penguins closely you’ll find out that feathers are so closely packed that you won’t be able to see the bare skin. It is due to high-density feather growth over their body (around 67 feathers per square inch). Emperor penguins hold the record of the highest density of feathers with a density of around 95 feathers per square inch.
It is only because of these feathers and a layer of blubber that they can survive through harsh cold winters of Antarctica. Penguins have dense white-colored feathers on their belly and black color feathers on their back.
Since they don’t have feathers on their wings, slimmer wings help them swim fast. Also, they lack feathers on their feet which acts like wide paddles during swimming.
Conclusion: Do Penguins Have Feathers?
So the next time that someone asks you the question, Do penguins have feathers? You can without any doubt and with absolute assurance, tell them, they most definitely do. Don’t forget to say it with a big smile 🙂