Monday was Jan. 20.
Monday was Jan. 20.
It was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
What you might not know is that it was also Penguin Awareness Day.
Although my column doesn't run on the same day as this special occasion this year, it doesn't mean that it shouldn't be celebrated.
Anyone who knows me knows penguins are my favorite animal. So, a day like Penguin Awareness Day gets me excited. It was a nice start to the week.
Penguins are one of those animals that 99.9 percent of people can identify immediately when they see them.
Although they are a common animal, not many realize there are more than just two types of penguins. There are 17 known types.
In honor of Penguin Awareness Day here are a few types of penguins and a little about them.
First and foremost, my favorite penguin is the Emperor penguin. This penguin lives in Antarctica and is the biggest penguin, standing 1.1 meters tall.
Their ear patches are yellow and they have a light yellow upper breast. These are distinguishable traits that tell them apart from the next type of penguin I'll mention.
Emperor penguins mainly eat fish, cephalopods and krill. They don't built nests, but the colonies huddle together for more warmth.
The males are solely responsible during the incubation of the egg. This may give him some control, but the females are the ones choosing mates.
The King penguin, which happens to be my second favorite penguin, is similar to the Emperor penguin. They are the second largest penguin as well.
What sets the King penguin apart from the Emperor penguin is that their cheeks are orange. They also have orange and yellow on their upper breast.
King penguins live in the sub-Antarctic belt, more north than the Emperor penguins.
They mostly eat pelagic fish (particularly laternfish of the species Electrona carlsbergi, Kreffichthys anderssoni and Protomyctophum tenisoni.) They also eat cephalopods and crustaceans.
These penguins have the longest breeding cycle, lasting 14-16 months.
Last but not least are the Galapagos penguins. These penguins breed in the Galapagos Islands by the equator, making them the northernmost penguins.
They are the smallest Spheniscus penguins and can be distinguished by their large bills and the white line around their faces.
These penguins breed mainly in caves or crevices of old lava flows and in burrows.
Galapagos penguins mainly eat small fish like mullet and sardines. They also remain close to their breeding grounds throughout the year.
With an estimated 6,000 to 15,000 remaining, the Galapagos penguins are the world's rarest penguin species.
One of my favorite things about penguins is once they find a mate, they keep that same mate their whole lives.
Unfortunately, 13 of the 17 recognized species of penguins are considered threatened or endangered. Some are even on the brink of extinction.
Let's remember these awesome, adorable animals and love them. There will be another celebration on April 25 for World Penguin Day.
Waters is a staff writer for The Wayne Independent and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.