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Odd Bird Bodies With its feathers hooked, a penguin is ready to swim. It dives into the ocean. T ere, it races through the icy water, chasing fish to eat. It twists and turns, escaping from the leopard seals and orcas that want to eat it. A penguin’s body is built for swimming.


COLOR helps a penguin hide in the water. Its white belly blends in with the bright surface. Its black back blends in with the dark sea.


WINGS are small, stiff, and fl at. They act like fl ippers as a penguin swims. They also help a penguin balance as it walks.


Start with the shape. It’s narrow at the head and toes, and rounded in the middle. T at shape is more like a fish’s shape than a bird’s shape. T ere’s a good reason why. Water easily flows up and over this shape. It doesn’t drag, or pull, on a penguin. So it doesn’t slow a penguin down. A penguin’s wings act like flippers. T ey


pull the penguin through the water. Its stubby legs act like a rudder. T ey steer the bird. Even its bones help. T ey aren’t hollow and light like most birds’ bones. T ey’re solid and heavy. A penguin uses this extra weight to dive deep. All penguins have feathers and swim like


fish. Yet they’re not all alike. T eir diff erences depend on where they live. Let’s see how.


Feathers keep this penguin warm in a cold environment..


JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2014 5


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