Revealed: The Surprising Reasons Why Penguins Can’t Fly

Why penguins cannot fly

Penguins are flightless birds who dive deep into the ocean. A research was performed to know why these birds cannot fly. An account of this analysis, pertaining to their diving talents and incapacity to swim, is given right here.

Swimming Champs!

Penguins can swim underwater at a speeds between 15 and 25 mph. Emperor penguins can dive to a depth of greater than 500 meters.

Penguins are aquatic birds discovered within the southern hemisphere. These birds simply entice our consideration owing to their distinctive kind and physique options. Though penguins are positioned below the class of birds, their look is extra like aquatic creatures. Additionally, their wings are smaller in proportion to the scale of their physique. They’re flightless birds with flipper-like wings.

A analysis was performed by a crew led by Kyle Elliott from the College of Manitoba, Winnipeg, to seek out out why penguins can’t fly. The conclusion derived from these analysis actions was penguin’s flippers are higher fitted to swimming and diving. It’s troublesome to fly with the assistance of such flippers. In reality, the flippers of penguins had been by no means meant for flying. Their sole perform was to help penguins to swim effectively. In different phrases, penguins would have developed a lot better wings if that they had chosen flying over swimming.

Comparability Research

A research was performed on guillemots to acquire an perception on why penguins can’t fly. Researchers have agreed upon the truth that a chook’s wings can’t carry out each, swimming and flying. It’s assumed that, at a sure level within the strategy of the evolution of wings, penguins had to decide on between flying and swimming; they selected swimming.

The analysis performed on cormorants and murres proved to be of nice assist in understanding why penguins cannot fly. Each these birds have an anatomical construction just like that of penguins. Recorders had been fitted on murres to measure the depth, time, and temperature of dives. However, cormorants had been fitted with data-loggers to report temperature, depth, and modifications in acceleration that takes place whereas diving.

Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia)


This chook is often known as Br√ľnnich’s Guillemot. The murre flaps its wings to wade by means of water on the time of diving. Exams performed on murres revealed that they wanted 30% higher power than penguins of the identical measurement.

Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)


The Pelagic Cormorant is discovered off the Pacific coast. The cormorant makes use of its webbed toes to propel itself by means of water. The power prices of diving in these cormorants had been larger than that of penguins in addition to murres.

penguin dancing

The wings (flippers) of penguins are fitted to swimming; it’s evident from how their bodily options have advanced over the course of time.

    • The wingspan of a penguin is smaller than that of most birds. One of many advantages of getting such wings is that the drag skilled whereas swimming is decreased to a fantastic extent.
  • One of many variations noticed within the flight of a penguin and that of different aquatic birds is penguin employs a beating movement of its wings. Most aquatic birds transfer underwater by the use of the paddling motion of their webbed toes.
  • The physique of a penguin is bulkier than that of different aquatic birds. It helps it dive deeper and maintain its physique insulated from the environment.
Power Burned in Flying
The comparability of the power burned in flying to that at relaxation ought to assist perceive whether or not a chook is an environment friendly flyer or not. A murre spends 31 instances as a lot power whereas flying than at relaxation. The power spent is sort of excessive if in comparison with most flying birds. Thus, we are able to conclude that murres waste plenty of their power of their flight. Penguins, however, have completely given up on flying, to preserve power.
Conclusion : 

Penguins misplaced their means to fly in the middle of evolution, tens of millions of years in the past. So how (or relatively why) did they lose this means. The reason introduced by researchers is that penguins are environment friendly swimmers, they usually gave up flying for the sake of swimming. Murres, however, can fly in addition to swim; nonetheless, flying comes on the expense of a considerable amount of power spent. Thus, we are able to say that murres are but to make up their thoughts whether or not to fly or to swim.

So what’s the significance of finding out the thick-billed murre’s flight. This comparative research helps us perceive that despite larger flight prices, murres didn’t shed their flying intuition. It is because, even when flying is a laborious exercise for the murres, they profit from it in numerous methods. Flying permits them to flee predators. The motion of flying additionally helps them transfer between their nests and foraging grounds. It may be one of many explanation why murres did not quit flying, even when this exercise consumes plenty of power.

Lastly, we are able to say that penguins had been sensible sufficient to shed their flying intuition to outlive within the predominantly aquatic environment of the Southern Hemisphere. They’ve advanced into environment friendly diving creatures.