As you might expect, there are many different varieties of penguins. Just how many species there are depends on whom you ask, but a lot of sources say there are 17. The different species are divided into six genuses. I'm no biologist, so I can't speak with any kind of authority on how many species there are--but for purposes of this page, I'll go with the figure of 17, and add some qualifying notes.
One of many good online sources of information on the different species of penguins is http://www.seaworld.org/infobooks/Penguins/appendix.html.
The northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula is brushtail territory, so all the penguins we saw were brushtails. The one exception was the macaroni penguin we spotted on Deception Island. Because they're the ones we saw, I've listed the brushtails first.
Pygoscelis -- Brushtail Penguins (3 species)
- Adélie -- This is your classic black-and-white tuxedo penguin, with a distinctive white ring around its eyes. The Adélie is the most numerous of all penguins. It's also the most southerly, living and breeding farther south than even the emperors.
- Gentoo -- Looks a lot like the Adélie, but with a white blotch above the eyes. Gentoos are very gentle-looking penguins, and are the most northerly of the brushtails. They are sometimes found as far north as the subantarctic islands.
- Chinstrap (or Ringed, or Bearded) -- Has a distinctive band of black feathers under the chin which gives it its name. Chinstraps are the boldest of the brushtails.
Aptenodytes -- The Great Penguins (2 species)
- Emperor -- This, of course, is the stately, majestic bird that most people think of when you mention penguins. At 3˝ feet (110 cm), it's the world's tallest penguin. Like the Adélie, it's found only in the Antarctic (i.e., not in the subantarctic islands or further north). This is the variety of penguin that spends the austral winter huddled on the ice, incubating an egg that they keep balanced on their feet.
- King -- Smaller and more colorful than the emperor, the king is found on subantarctic islands.
Eudyptes -- Crested Penguins (4 to 6 species)
- Macaroni -- The macaroni is the largest of the crested penguins, and is notoriously bad-tempered (though I get the impression that all the crested penguins are ill-tempered). Like the kings, they are found on the subantarctic islands.
- Royal -- Considered by some a subspecies of the macaroni, the royal is at any rate a close relative. They're found in New Zealand, and on Macquarie and Campbell Islands.
- Rockhopper -- The smallest of the crested penguins, these inhabit the subantarctic islands. As you might expect from their name, they're known for their agility in crossing and climbing rocky terrain.
- Fiordland crested -- One of the least numerous penguins, the Fiordland crested inhabits New Zealand and Stewart Island.
- Erect-crested -- As their name suggests, these are the only penguin with a crest that actually stands upright. They are found in Australia and New Zealand, and also on Bounty, Campbell, and the Auckland Islands.
- Snares Island -- This penguin is found only on Snares Island, south of New Zealand. Some consider this a subspecies of the Fiordland crested, or Erect-crested, penguin.
Spheniscus -- Striped Penguins (4 species)
- Magellanic -- These are found in Tierra del Fuego, and along the coasts of Patagonia and southern Chile.
- Humboldt (or Peruvian) -- Much fewer in number than the Magellanic, the Humboldt is found along the coasts of Peru and (northern?) Chile.
- African (or Black-footed, or Jackass) -- As you might expect, these fellows inhabit South Africa. They're sometimes called jackass penguins because of the sound they make. They're considered threatened, and their numbers are declining.
- Galápagos -- This is the most northerly of all penguins, found only on the Galápagos Islands.
Eudyptula -- The Little Penguins (1 to 2 species)
- Little Blue (or Fairy) -- This is the smallest of all penguin species. It inhabits southern Australia and New Zealand. Some consider the White-flippered penguin a separate species; others say it's a subspecies of the Little Blue.
Megadyptes -- "Great Diver" Penguins (1 species)
- Yellow-eyed -- Sometimes considered the most endangered of all penguins, it's at least considered vulnerable, as its population has declined by 40% in the last 40 years. One of the rarest of the bunch, it is found only in southeast New Zealand.