8 unexpected places to see penguins in the wild around the world

Tom Pilgrim/ShutterstockKing penguins.
  • The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador is the only place to find penguins north of the equator.
  • On St. Kilda Pier in Melbourne, Australia, tiny fairy penguins walk alongside tourists.
  • African penguins sunbathe on Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

You may think penguins live in the Arctic tundra, but the aquatic birds can be found on beaches, islands, and shorelines across the Southern Hemisphere – and in one exceptional case, north of the equator.

Here are eight places you wouldn’t expect to find penguins in the wild.


African penguins sunbathe on Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.

Pocholo Calapre/ShutterstockAfrican penguins on Boulders Beach.

African penguins are known for their characteristic braying reminiscent of the sounds donkeys make. They’re the only species of penguin found in Africa.


King penguins rule the shores of Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia.

Tom Pilgrim/ShutterstockKing penguins in Patagonia.

King Penguin Park in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, is inhabited by the second-largest species of penguin on Earth. King penguins can be seen there year-round, but their numbers dwindle from March to September while some guard their nests and others travel further for food.


The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador is the only place to find penguins north of the equator.

Watch the World/ShutterstockA penguin swimming in the Galapagos.

The penguins are in danger of becoming extinct due to rising ocean temperatures, according to National Geographic.


Along St. Kilda Pier in Melbourne, Australia, tiny fairy penguins walk alongside tourists.

Richard Yew/ShutterstockA fairy penguin in Melbourne.

The fairy penguins at St. Kilda are used to humans since the pier is located a short walk away from the busy shore full of shops and cafes. They often waddle along the walkway next to visitors. The penguins live there all year and usually come out after sunset.


Fairy penguins are also visible on Australia’s Phillip Island.

Loes Kieboom/ShutterstockA penguin on Phillip Island.

There are several different ways to see penguins on Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade, from viewing stands to boardwalks to underground walkways.


Oamaru, New Zealand, is also known as “Penguintown.”

Jordan Tan/ShutterstockA ‘penguins crossing’ sign.

Oamaru is home to the largest blue penguin colony in New Zealand.


Humboldt penguins on the Ballestas Islands are the only penguins native to Peru.

Yefim Bam/ShutterstockHumboldt penguins on Ballestas Islands in Peru.

They build their homes by digging burrows into the island’s guano (accumulated bird excrement).


The Falkland Islands contain five different species of penguins.

JeremyRichards/ShutterstockGentoo penguins in the Falkland Islands.

In 1982, the Argentine military set up 30,000 land mines in the Falkland Islands ahead of a British attack as the two countries fought for control of the islands. The unexploded land mines have kept humans away and allowed the penguin population to thrive since they’re not heavy enough to set them off.

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