ETYM Perh. orig. the name of another bird, and from W. pen head + gwyn white; or perh. from a native South American name.
Short-legged flightless birds of cold southern esp. Antarctic regions having webbed feet and wings modified as flippers.
Any of an order (Sphenisciformes) of marine flightless birds, mostly black and white, found in the southern hemisphere. They range in size from 40 cm/1.6 ft to 1.2 m/4 ft tall, and have thick feathers to protect them from the intense cold. They are awkward on land (except on snow slopes down which they propel themselves at a rapid pace), but their wings have evolved into flippers, making them excellent swimmers. Penguins congregate to breed in “rookeries”, and often spend many months incubating their eggs while their mates are out at sea feeding.
Emperor and jackass penguins.
Most species are confined to the colder regions, and large rookeries have been found at very low latitudes. Largest is the emperor penguin Aptenodytes forsteri 1.2 m/4 ft tall, whose single annual egg is brooded by the male in the warmth of a flap of his body skin, so that it rests on his feet. Among the small species is the jackass penguin Spheniscus demerss, which lays two eggs in a scraped hollow in the ground. Jackass penguins have declined in numbers, at first because of egg-collecting by humans, but more recently owing to overfishing, which deprives them of food, and to oil spills near their breeding colonies.
Slang for the Linux operating system or a Linux user. The name comes from the penguin character used as the Linux mascot. See also Tux.