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Moving North T ings warm up a little in the subantarctic. T is region is just north of Antarctica. T e sea doesn’t freeze here. Yet the environment is still harsh. Cold ocean currents rush past rocky islands. Winds blast them. In the winter, it gets cold enough for snow to fall. Life can be hard for penguins that live here.


T ey’re up to the challenge, though. Southern rockhoppers are a good example. T ese rockhoppers are among the smallest


penguins. Yet they’re fierce. T ey need to be. T ey share their environment with big birds of prey called skuas. T e skuas swoop in. T ey grab rockhopper eggs. T ey steal chicks. Rockhoppers fight back. But they don’t fight


alone. T ey team up. T ey peck at the skuas. T e smaller birds chase the big birds away. Rockhoppers also move diff erently than


many other penguins. T ey have to. T ey live atop big cliff s and among rocky boulders. Waddling won’t work. So they use their short legs to hop. T ey leap from rock to rock.


A rockhopper penguin leaps from rock to rock.


Getting Warmer Move farther north, and penguins face a new challenge. It’s heat. It can get pretty steamy in the temperate region. In some places, summer temperatures can rise to near 23°C (73°F). T at’s hot for a penguin. Here, the environment has what places farther south don’t. It has lush plants. T e penguins know how to use this environment to stay cool. Take yellow-eyed penguins, for example.


Many live along the coast of New Zealand. When this penguin gets out of the water, it doesn’t stay on the shore. It waddles into a nearby forest. T ere, it finds in a shady spot in a tree’s tangle of roots. T at keeps it safe and out of the sun. Penguins in temperate areas also have


other ways to beat the heat. T ey pant to cool down. T ey also unhook and spread out their feathers. Now the feathers don’t block the air. A cooling breeze can reach the birds’ skin.


Some Like It Hot Maybe the most surprising place to find a penguin is on a sunbaked beach. Yet that’s where the African penguin lives. It’s subtropical here. Summers are hot. Winters are mild. Oſt en, it doesn’t rain much. To survive in its environment, an African


penguin finds shade wherever it can. It might cool off under a bush or between rocks. It might even make shade by digging a burrow in seabird poop. Pink patches on its face also help this bird


stay cool. T ese patches are bare skin with no feathers. T e bare skin lets heat escape. If it’s still too hot, this penguin dives into


the sea. Water from Antarctica flows past the coast. T e water is so cold that now the penguin must hook its feathers to stay warm. From hot beaches to icy glaciers, all of


these penguins have adapted to live in extreme places. T ey may find shade or shiver together. T en, when life on land gets too hard, they dive into the water. T ere, these birds show why they’re such survivors. T eir bodies are built not to fly, but to swim in the sea.


8 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER


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