Clowns of the Bird World

Penguin Appreciation Day

Reading Comprehension for January 13

If you were on a boat in the southern half of the world, what things would you expect to see? If you were far south, you would-- of course-- see ice, whales, seals-- and what was that? It looked like a small, black torpedo shooting through the water! It suddenly leaped above the waves before disappearing again. Do you know what it was? That's right, it was a penguin.

Penguins are funny looking birds. Some penguins spend most of their lives in the water. They only spend time on land when they are nesting. Their wings are more like fins, and they flap them to "fly" through the water. Their bodies are covered with a very thick layer of small feathers designed to keep the birds warm and dry.

There are 17 different kinds of penguins. All of them live in the southern half or hemisphere of the world. The largest one is the emperor. It stands more than three and a half feet tall and can weigh ninety pounds! The smallest is the fairy penguin. It is only sixteen inches tall and weighs about two pounds.

One thing penguins have in common is their shape and color. They are shaped like torpedoes so they can go through the water quickly. They also have black and white markings. Some people think they look like men in tuxedos.

If you were to draw a picture of a penguin, it would probably be an emperor. That is the one everyone knows best. They are not just black and white but also have orange and yellow markings on their heads.

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