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Underwater Flight

on January 1, 2015

The cold southern oceans are filled with marvelous birds, called penguins, that are specially designed to "fly" through the water. Water is much denser than air, so God equipped them with paddles and powerful muscles that slice through the water with ease.

  • Deep Dives

    Deep Dives

    Penguins are world-champion divers. In fact, emperor penguins can plunge to depths of 1,854 feet (565 m) and stay underwater for almost 30 minutes. Most penguins, however, feed near the surface and stay underwater only 2-8 minutes.

  • Porpoising

    Porpoising

    Penguins are at their best underwater, but they still must come up for air. So they don't have to slow down, many penguins will leap out of the water like a porpoise. "Porpoising" also seems to confuse predators.

  • Bubble Propulsion

    Bubble Propulsion

    Leopard seals sometimes lurk near the shore. So penguins make a quick leap out of the water, sometimes launching 6 feet (1.8m) into the air. Just before launch, they release a cushion of bubbles that propels them forward—two to three times their normal speed.

January–March 2015

Underwater Flight

This issue shares some of the amazing designs of flightless birds.

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