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15 Birds that Look Like Penguins (List with Pictures)

Birds that Look Like Penguins

Examples of birds that look like penguins include Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Great Auks, Guadalupe Murrelet, and Horned Puffin.

Birds that look like penguins can be found all over the world. While most of these birds aren’t actually related to penguins, they have some features in common that make them look similar. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at a few bird species that are often mistaken for penguins. We’ll also discuss how to tell these birds apart from real penguins.

Examples of Birds that Look Like Penguins

Penguins and birds of the same family often have similar appearances, which can lead to some confusion. We take a look at 15 birds that are commonly mistaken for penguins.

1. Atlantic Puffin

Scientific NameFratercula arctica
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic puffin is a small, stocky bird that is often mistaken for a penguin. These birds are found in the northern Atlantic Ocean, and they breed on rocky coasts and islands. Atlantic puffins are black and white, with a orange bill and webbed feet. They grow to be about 12 inches long, and they weigh less than a pound.

Atlantic puffins are good swimmers, and they spend most of their time at sea. These birds only come ashore to breed, and they build their nests in burrows or crevices. Atlantic puffins eat small fish, and they catch their prey by swimming underwater.

Related Article: 10 Penguin Adaptations

2. Common Murre

Scientific NameUria aalge
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWidespread on Pacific Coast from Alaska to California, but more local in the east, being found mainly off eastern Canada

The common murre is a seabird that can be found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. These birds are members of the auk family, which also includes penguins. Murres are black with white underparts and have long, thin bills. They can reach lengths of up to 30 inches (76 cm).

Common murres are often mistaken for penguins, but there are a few key differences between these two birds. For one, murres can fly, while penguins cannot. Murres also have shorter, stubbier bills than penguins. Finally, penguins live in the southern hemisphere, while murres are found in the northern hemisphere.

3. Great Auks

Scientific NamePinguinus impennis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangein the cold North Atlantic coastal waters along the coasts of Canada, the northeastern United States, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Ireland, Great Britain, France, and the Iberian Peninsula

The great auk was a species of bird that became extinct in the 19th century. Great auks were large, black-and-white birds that lived in the North Atlantic. They had thick feathers and webbed feet, which made them good swimmers. Great auks could grow to be about 3 feet tall and weigh up to 10 pounds.

The great auk was hunted to extinction by humans. Their feathers were used to make clothing and their eggs were collected for food. The last known great auk was killed in Iceland in the mid-19th century.

4. Guadalupe Murrelet

Scientific NameSynthliboramphus hypoleucus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCalifornia

The Guadalupe murrelet is a small, dark bird that breeds on Guadalupe Island off the coast of California. This bird is often mistaken for a penguin because of its black plumage and white chest. However, the Guadalupe murrelet is actually a member of the auk family. These birds are also much smaller than penguins, with a length of only about 10 inches.

5. Horned Puffin

Scientific NameFratercula corniculata
Type of AnimalBird
Rangealong the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska

The horned puffin is a seabird that can be found in the North Pacific Ocean. These birds are sometimes called “sea parrots” because of their brightly colored beaks. Horned puffins are about the same size as a penguin, and they have black and white plumage. The most distinctive feature of these birds is their large, orange beaks.

Horned puffins are actually related to auks, not penguins. These birds spend most of their time at sea, only coming ashore to mate and nest. Horned puffins eat small fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.

6. Japanese Murrelet

Scientific NameSynthliboramphus wumizusume
Type of AnimalBird
Rangerocky islets and reefs in the warm waters of Japan and southern Korea

The Japanese murrelet is a small, black-and-white bird that is found in the northern Pacific Ocean. This bird looks similar to a penguin because of its small size and dark plumage. However, the Japanese murrelet does not have a white belly or a black head. Instead, its head is dark grey and its belly is white.

7. Little Auks

Scientific NameAlle alle
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAside from islands around the Arctic and the Bering Sea, the little auk can also be found around Greenland, Iceland, and northern Russia

These small, black-and-white birds are found in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the world. They have a similar appearance to penguins, with their small size and plump body shape. However, little auks lack the distinctive white belly that penguins have. In addition, little auks can fly, whereas penguins cannot.

8. Marbled Murrelet

Scientific NameBrachyramphus marmoratus
Type of AnimalBird
RangePacific Coast

The marbled murrelet is a small seabird that is found along the coastlines of the Pacific Ocean. This bird looks similar to a penguin in several ways, including its coloration and the fact that it has webbed feet. However, there are some key differences between the two birds. For one, marbled murrelets are much smaller than penguins, averaging only about 10 inches in length. Additionally, these birds have wings, whereas penguins do not.

One of the most distinguishing features of the marbled murrelet is its call, which sounds like a loud, harsh bark. This is in contrast to the cooing sound that penguins make. Murrelets also tend to nest in trees, whereas penguins nest on the ground.

9. Masked Booby

Scientific NameSula dactylatra
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeat sea in most of the world’s tropical oceans

The masked booby is a seabird that can be found in tropical and subtropical regions. These birds get their name from the dark plumage that covers their eyes, giving them a “masked” appearance. Masked boobies are larger than penguins, with a wingspan of up to six feet. They also have long, sharp bills that are used for hunting fish.

10. Nazca Booby

Scientific NameSula granti
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe Galapagos Archipelago

The Nazca booby is a seabird that can be found on the Galapagos Islands. This bird shares some physical similarities with penguins, such as its black-and-white plumage and webbed feet.

However, there are several key differences between the two birds. For one, the Nazca booby is much larger than a penguin, with a wingspan that can reach up to six feet. Additionally, this bird has a long, sharp beak that is adapted for catching fish, whereas penguins have shorter, blunter beaks that are better suited for eating crustaceans.

11. Parakeet Auklet

Scientific NameAethia psittacula
Type of AnimalBird
Rangenear the boreal waters of the Bering Sea from Alaska to Siberia

The Parakeet Auklet is a small, pelagic bird that is found in the North Pacific Ocean. It gets its name from its similarity in appearance to the parakeet, a type of tropical bird. The Parakeet Auklet has a black head and bill, with a white ring around its eyes. Its back and wings are grey, and its belly is white. It typically grows to be about 10-12 inches in length.

One of the most distinguishing features of the Parakeet Auklet is its call, which has been described as a “piercing, metallic kree-kree-kree.” This bird is also known for its elaborate courtship rituals, which involve the male bird giving gifts of seaweed to the female.

The Parakeet Auklet is found in the Aleutian Islands, Japan, Korea, and Russia. It breeds on small rocky islands, and nests in burrows or crevices.

12. Pigeon Guillemot

Scientific NameCepphus columba
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth Pacific coastal waters

The Pigeon Guillemot is a small, black and white bird that is found along the coasts of North America. This bird closely resembles a penguin in appearance, but it is actually a member of the auk family. One of the best ways to tell the difference between a Pigeon Guillemot and a penguin is by looking at the bird’s feet. Pigeon Guillemots have webbed feet, while penguins have fully-webbed feet.

13. Razorbill

Scientific NameAlca torda
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth Atlantic

The razorbill is a seabird that can be found along the coasts of Europe and North America. It has a black back and white underparts, and its head is black with a white stripe running down the centre. The razorbill gets its name from its long, thin bill, which is sharp at the end. This bird breeds in colonies on cliffs, and it feeds on fish and squid.

14. Thick-Billed Murre

Scientific NameUria lomvia
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAlaska, Newfoundland, and Iceland

The thick-billed murre is a seabird that can be found in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the world. These birds are black and white, with a thick bill that gives them their name. They’re often mistaken for penguins, but there are a few key differences between the two species.

First, murres don’t have the same tuxedo-like appearance that penguins do. Second, murres can fly, while penguins can’t. Finally, murres lay their eggs in nests on cliffs, whereas penguins build their nests on the ground.

15. Tufted Puffin

Scientific NameFratercula cirrhata
Type of AnimalBird
Range along the northern Pacific Coast

The tufted puffin is a seabird that is found in the north Pacific Ocean. These birds have black feathers on their back and wings, and white feathers on their belly. They also have an orange beak and webbed feet. Tufted puffins can grow to be about 16 inches long.

Conclusion

Birds that look like penguins can be found in both the northern and southern hemispheres. These birds are often mistaken for penguins because of their black-and-white plumage, but there are a few key differences between these two groups of birds.

Penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere, while most of the birds that resemble penguins live in the Northern Hemisphere. Penguins also have a torpedo-shaped body with flippers instead of wings, while most birds that look like penguins have more traditional avian wings.

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