All members of the family Spheniscidae are highly adapted for life in the water. Their bodies have a hydrodynamic shape, their vestigial wings have become flippers, useless for flight in the air. Their feathers are short and compressed to the body, which forms a smooth plumage. The compressed plumage forms a layer of air, which preserves and ensures buoyancy. The air
layer also helps insulate the birds in cold waters. On land, penguins use their tails and wings to maintain balance for their upright stance. In the water, penguins are agile. Their swimming looks very similar to bird’s flight in the air. Spheniscus humboldti is the only species resident in Peru. Photo: Humboldt Penguin ©Jorge Novoa.