For some strange reason, there has been a resurgence in interest of the flightless birds known as penguins as of late. As such, we thought it fitting to explain where to spot them should you want to on your gap year. Of course, all penguins live below the equator, but not many know that of the 17 types, only seven live in cold conditions.
Name: African Penguin
Not surprisingly the name of the species of African Penguin. Also known as the Jackass Penguin due to its Eeyore-style bray, they have distinctive pink markings above that help control their body heat. When hot, blood will surge to these glands, which cools it down.
Found in the south-west of the continent, backpackers should head to places like Port Elizabeth in South Africa where it may be possible to head to nearby islands to see some colonies. If you’re not feeling as adventurous it has been noted that two colonies can be found at Boulders Beach, Cape Town.
Name: Erect-crested Penguin
Found: New Zealand
Perhaps the most striking of all the species, the erect-crested penguin is native to New Zealand and its surrounding islands. However, they have been seen as far afield as the Falkland Islands near Argentina.
With yellow eyebrow-stripes on either side of its head, the penguin resembles a 70s punk and is considered endangered the population currently stands at between 130,000 and 140,000.
Those looking to observe them during mating season, they can be found on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands.
Name: Galapagos Penguin
Found: Galapagos Islands
It may be a surprise to some that this particular penguin is found right on the equator, and can even be found a little bit higher.
Looking for the bird on one of the islands can be tricky because they tend to breed in lava-formed caves.
They are notable for their white facial markings, fairly sizable bill and is the second smallest of the species.
Name: Little Penguin
Found: Southern Coast of Australia
The Little Penguin is called so because it is the smallest penguin of all the species. They look distinctive due to their dark blue appearance and their white, puffy chest.
What makes this particular breed different because they nocturnal, meaning they are not spotted by a beach during the day. If looking to see some on your gap, it is best to wait till the early evening. For those looking to see chicks being born, a good time to comes is the months of November, December and January.
What penguins are you planning to see on your travels? Let us know in the comments below.