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The 15 Biggest Penguins in The World

Penguins are flightless aquatic birds that live in the Southern Hemisphere.

They usually feed on krill, fish, squid, and other types of sea life.

Currently, penguins range from 35 cm to 115 cm in length and 1 kg to 40 kg in weight.

The biggest living penguin in the world is the emperor penguin at 110 to 120 cm in length and 22.7 to 45.4 kg in weight.

However, extinct penguins from other genusus like the Archaeospheniscus genus (33 to 45 million years ago) are far taller and heavier.

This list contains the top 15 biggest penguins in the world by their height and weight (both living and extinct).

15. Archaeospheniscus lowei

Archaeospheniscus lowei

Archaeospheniscus lowei is a species of Archaeospheniscus, an extinct genus of large penguins.

Its height is in between a modern king penguin and an emperor penguin.

Height: 85-115 cm

Weight: Unknown

Status: Extinct

14. Archaeospheniscus lopdelli

Archaeospheniscus lopdelli

Archaeospheniscus lopdelli was the largest species of Archaeospheniscus, an extinct genus of large penguins.

They are slightly smaller than the modern emperor penguin.

Height:  85–120 cm

Weight: Unknown

Status: Extinct

13. Emperor penguin

Emperor penguin

The emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest living penguin species that lives in Antarctica.

Due to climate change, the emperor penguin was uplisted from “Least Concern” to “Near Threatened” by the IUCN in 2012.

Height: 100-122 cm

Weight: 22-45kg

Status: Near Threatened 

12. Palaeeudyptes gunnari

Palaeeudyptes gunnari is a species of Palaeeudyptes, an extinct penguin genus.

They are about the same size as the modern emperor penguin.

Height: 110-125 cm

Weight: Unknown

Status: Extinct

11. Kairuku grebneffi

Kairuku grebneffi

Kairuku grebneffi is a giant penguin, an extinct species, that lived around 25 million years ago.

The bones of Kairuku were first discovered in 1977, but it was not classified as a species until 2012.

Height: 130cm

Weight: 60kg (50% heavier than emperor penguins)

Status: Extinct

10. Palaeeudyptes antarcticus

Palaeeudyptes antarcticus

Palaeeudyptes antarcticus, or the narrow-flippered penguin, is a species of Palaeeudyptes, an extinct penguin genus.

It was the first penguin fossil recognized by science that was discovered in late 1848 by Agent Walter Mantell.

Height: 110-140 cm

Weight: Unknown

Status: Extinct

9. Palaeeudyptes marplesi

Palaeeudyptes marplesi

Palaeeudyptes marplesi is a species of Palaeeudyptes, an extinct penguin genus.

It is slightly bigger than the narrow-flippered penguin (Palaeeudyptes antarcticus).

Height: 105-145 cm

Weight: Unknown

Status: Extinct

8. Anthropodyptes gilli

Anthropodyptes gilli

Anthropodyptes gilli is an extinct penguin that is poorly known.

It is the only Anthropodyptes species, a monotypic genus of extinct penguins.

Height: 140-150 cm

Weight: Unknown

Status: Extinct

7. Inkayacu paracasensis

Inkayacu paracasensis

Inkayacu paracasensis is a species of Inkayacu, a genus of extinct penguins.

It lived around 36 million years ago in Peru during the Late Eocene.

A study found that they were gray or reddish-brown in color, which differs from the modern black-and-white penguins.

Height: 150 cm

Weight: 55-60 kg

Status: Extinct

6. Icadyptes salasi

Icadyptes salasi

Icadyptes salasi is a species of Icadyptes, an extinct genus of giant penguins.

They lived about 35 to 37 million years ago, during the second half of the Eocene Epoch.

The Icadyptes thrived in warmer climates during the Eocene.

Height: 150 cm

Weight: 50-80 kg

Status: Extinct

5. Crossvallia waiparensis

Crossvallia waiparensis

Crossvallia waiparensis is one of two species of Crossvallia, an extinct genus of penguins.

Their remains were discovered in August 2019 by a paleontologist, Leigh Love.

Height: 140-160 cm

Weight: 70-80 kg

Status: Extinct

4. Pachydyptes ponderous

Pachydyptes ponderous

Pachydyptes ponderous is the only species of Pachydyptes, an extinct genus of penguins.

It was slightly larger than Icadyptes salasi.

Height: 150-160 cm

Weight: 80-100 kg

Status: Extinct

3. Palaeeudyptes klekowskii

Palaeeudyptes klekowskii

Palaeeudyptes klekowskii, or the colossus penguin, is a species of Palaeeudyptes, an extinct genus of penguins.

A recent study showed that they were almost twice as tall as Palaeeudyptes antarcticus.

Height: 150-160 cm

Weight: 115 kg

Status: Extinct

2. Kumimanu biceae

Kumimanu biceae

Kumimanu biceae is an extinct species of giant penguin, known to be the second biggest penguin that ever lived in the world.

Its fossils were found in New Zealand, but the discovery was announced in December 2017.

Height: 160-177 cm

Weight: 91-100 kg

Status: Extinct

1. Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi

The biggest penguin in the world - Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi

The biggest penguin in the world is Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi, which lived over 33 million years ago during the Late Eocene.

It is approximately 1.80 m (5’11 in) in height and 90 kg (200 lb) in weight, similar to an adult man.

In comparison, the biggest modern penguin, the emperor penguin, is only 1.20 m in height.

The fossils of Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi have been found in New Zealand and the La Meseta Formation on Seymour Island off the coast of Antarctica.

The penguin had a bent joint in the wing that was most likely inherited from its flying ancestors.

Height: 170-180 cm

Weight: 82-90 kg

Status: Extinct

Conclusion

Penguins are usually known as small flightless birds.

However, penguins were huge in prehistoric times (millions of years ago).

This is due to the higher oxygen content in the air and bigger landmasses in the past.

Palaeeudyptes and Anthropornis are two of the largest genus of large penguins.

They reached up to 1.8 meters tall and weighed as much as an adult human.

In comparison, emperor penguins are only 1.2 meters long.

Further reading

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About the author

Lim How Wei

Lim How Wei is the founder of followchain.org, with 8+ years of experience in Social Media Marketing and 4+ years of experience as an active investor in stocks and cryptocurrencies. He has researched, tested, and written hundreds of articles ranging from social media platforms to messaging apps.