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Penguins have many differences in their physical appearance, which helps scientists identify the twenty or so types of species. For example, the Emperor penguin has a black head, chin, and throat with yellow ear patches while the Gentoo has a black head with white eyelids and triangular patches of white above each eye. All Spheniscidae have webbed feet and wings that are used as flippers to navigate through water with ease. While penguins waddle and can approach speeds around 2.5 mph on land, they are very agile in the water. This aids in catching food and avoiding predators such as the sea lion (Otaria flavescens).
The average life span of the penguin is between fifteen and twenty years. One of the main sources of death is lack of food, in the case of parents not being able to provide for their offspring. Chicks have a very low survival rate among all species of Spheniscidae. They have many predators that dwell in the water and other land species such as foxes (Alopex) and petrels (Pagodroma nivea) will often try to steal eggs from unsuspecting penguins.