ANTARCTICA-ENVIRONMENT-KRILL-PENGUINS

What's Black and White and Beloved All Over?

In celebration of the small-but-mighty penguin.

Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom, the penguin is arguably the classiest. After all, what other species walks around wearing a permanent tuxedo? It's just one reason to love these flightless birds, and here are a few more...

Penguins are incredibly social beings — their colonies range in size from a few hundred to several thousand. Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Penguins are incredibly social beings — their colonies range in size from a few hundred to several thousand. Most are monogamous for a mating season, while some species partner for life. The macaroni penguin, for instance, has <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/photo-ark/pictures/monogamous-animals/" target="_blank">been observed</a> getting very excited when he spots his mate, squawking and moving his head from side to side in what is known as an &quot;ecstatic display.&quot; Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images Most are monogamous for a mating season, while some species partner for life. The macaroni penguin, for instance, has been observed getting very excited when he spots his mate, squawking and moving his head from side to side in what is known as an "ecstatic display." Don&#39;t let their waddle mislead you: Penguins are incredibly fast. Some species can swim at a rate of 15 miles per hour. (Eat your heart out, Michael Phelps.) Carl Court/Getty Images Don't let their waddle mislead you: Penguins are incredibly fast. Some species can swim at a rate of 15 miles per hour. (Eat your heart out, Michael Phelps.) They also get around by sliding across the snow on their bellies. Adorable! Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images They also get around by sliding across the snow on their bellies. Adorable! Penguins&#39; distinctive coloring actually serves as camouflage while they&#39;re in the water hunting for food. ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images Penguins' distinctive coloring actually serves as camouflage while they're in the water hunting for food. And because they have no real enemies on solid ground, they don&#39;t typically fear humans. Yet, unfortunately, our environmental behaviors have edged many species closer to extinction. It&#39;s now <a href="https://defenders.org/penguins/what-you-can-do" target="_blank">our job</a> to keep these wonderful creatures safe... Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images And because they have no real enemies on solid ground, they don't typically fear humans. Yet, unfortunately, our environmental behaviors have edged many species closer to extinction. It's now our job to keep these wonderful creatures safe... ...so they can stay classy for centuries to come. ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images ...so they can stay classy for centuries to come.