When you look at a penguin's head you can see their eyes, their beak, even a tongue if they open up. But you will not see any ears. [You won't see any knees either, but they're there! Check out this post on penguin knees.] So you may ask "Do penguins have ears?"
Even though you don’t see any ears, doesn't mean they are not there!
In fact, they do have ears that are located on each side of their head. But they do not have external ear flaps. Their ears are just holes and are covered by feathers. The absence of external ear flaps gives the penguins a more streamline shape and minimizes drag as they swim through the water.
No external ear flaps reduce drag as the penguins zoom through the water.
Even though you cannot see their ears doesn't mean they do not hear well. Penguins have very specialized hearing above and below the water. They can recognize individual penguins by their voices. Parent penguins returning from foraging trips can pick their mate and chicks out from among hundreds or even thousands of other penguins on the island — just by their voices!
While watching these videos of several penguins vocalizing at once try to recognize the different penguins based on their calls. If you were a penguin you could!
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2011 South Africa Expedition
Little blue penguins
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The Aquarium is home to more than 80 penguins who live in a bustling colony found on Level 1 surrounding the Giant Ocean Tank. The Aquarium breeds African penguins as part of a Species Survival Plan and promotes education programs about penguins around the world.
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