Penguins are among the most adorable creatures on earth. They mainly inhabit the southern hemisphere, with some species stretching to Antarctica and Galapagos. Their appearance might be easy on the eye, but you’d be surprised by how much environmental stress they can endure.
They survive mainly by eating fish, squids, and krill. Some of the 18 penguin species have slightly different diets to reduce competition. This begs the question: how long do penguins live? This article addresses this question and more.
While there is no straight answer to how long penguins live, the approximate range is between 6 and 27 years. Factors that determine how long these beautiful creatures live include their habitat, diet, and, more importantly, the bird species.
Which Penguin Species Has the Shortest Lifespan?
The little blue penguin, also known as the Eudyptula minor, has the shortest life expectancy, with a maximum of 6 years, give or take, followed closely by Rockhopper penguins. Commonly found in New Zealand, the species is evenly distributed worldwide in highlands and rocky shorelines.
Over time, there have been isolated cases where a member of the little blue penguin species has lived up to 25 years in captivity, but that’s just about it.
Which Penguin Species Has the Longest Lifespan?
Magellanic penguins have the most extended lifespans (25-30) years. Otherwise known as Speniscus magellanicus, they inhabit coastal beaches, cliff faces, small bushes, sandy dunes, grassy slopes, and forested areas.
This penguin species primarily feeds on fish (cod, hake, anchovies, and sardines), cephalopods, and krill. Magellanic species survive for prolonged periods by constantly migrating along the coasts of their habitats.
Other Penguin Species Lifespan
Apart from the little blue penguin and Magellanic penguins on both extremes, most species have an average lifespan of 20 years. They include the following:
- Fiordland Penguin
- Galapagos Penguin
- Macaroni Penguin
- Snares Penguin
- Chinstrap Penguin
- Emperor Penguin
- Erect-crested Penguin
- King Penguin (20-26 years)
Others include Adelie Penguin (16 years), African Penguin (10-27 years), and Gentoo Penguin (13 years)
The Final Verdict
Telling how long penguins live is not easy, considering there are many variables. However, most species have a lifespan averaging 20 years, with only one (Little Blue Penguin) having below 10. On the other hand, the Magellanic Penguins are the most likely to survive longest. Some have attained as many as 30 years in the past.