Can Penguins Jump? How High Do They Jump?

Yes, the penguins can jump high in the air. The height differs from kind to kind. They jump up in the air while swimming fast. They also hop on the icy rocks, sometimes to move forward. At the max, they jump over 9 feet high. They flap their wings fast to gain momentum for hopping or jumping in the air.

To our surprise, the penguins’ jump is supported by their flippers more. The fast flapping underwater creates a bubble around the body which reduces the drag sharply. And the jump is higher than you can imagine. Similarly, on land, they join their feet on the rock and bound about strongly. The leap takes them from rock to rock.

Do you want to find out how, where and when they jump? Stay on the page to know well. Our details will tell us more about the jumping speed and capacity of various species of penguins.

Can Penguins Jump? Can Rockhopper Penguins Jump?

Not a flying bird, though, yet the hydrodynamic and streamlined body of the penguins help them stand out from other marine birds. They jump both on land and from water to land with a strong push. The leaps help them in many ways:

  • Moving conveniently on icy rocks through jumps when waddling takes more time.
  • Coming out of water fast and saving themselves from marine and land predators. Look at the beauty with which the penguins reduce the water drag and come fast on land.

Since hopping differs in many species, the facts vary from type to type. The Rockhopper penguin’s name is self-explanatory. These penguins, plus the Galapagos and the African Penguins, have a good skill to bounce from rock to rock. Moreover, they don’t even have to navigate at some point on the rocks. They are much more skillful than you expect. 

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Can Penguins Jump On Land? How High Can Penguins Jump On Land?

Yes, they do jump on land. But comparatively, they jump a little low on land into the air from out of the water thrust. Here is the reason for the difference:

When the penguins are coming out of the water, the water bubble mechanism helps them a lot. It is the flippers that help them to the fullest because the penguins are famous for apt swimming.

So far, the rock hop is concerned; it is the feet that are not that capacitating to give the heavy push for a high jump. We know well that the short legs and rudder-like feet are quite weak and support waddling more than walking.

The high jump on land is up to 6 feet. While out of the water, the jump can reach up to 9 feet. This is why we talked about the features which help penguins on land and in the water while jumping.

Why Do Penguins Jump Out Of The Water?

As adaptability is an important aspect in the life of penguins due to the tough weather habitats, jumping out of water serves the same. The marine birds dive and swim underwater like jet planes and outrace other animals in speed and precision.

The penguins, while swimming, need to come out of the water to breathe. There are more solid reasons ahead:

  • They avoid predators in the ocean by confusing them through porpoising.
  • The predators on land can also be avoided when they jump out fast in momentum and climb the rocks straight ahead.
  • Sometimes, jumping out of water is to take a look out in the air.
  • Moreover, the jump in the air reduces energy consumption as compared to water. The leap also reduces time and distance. 

How Do Penguins Jump Out Of The Water?

Well, this is the story of momentum and mechanism. The penguins, when they dive into the water, they start gaining momentum. Here the flippers take the lead. The air bubbles take space under the flippers due to flapping.

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While nearing to porpoise, the small air bubbles take a bigger form to give penguins an air bubble wrap to reduce the friction of water and air. Thus, the speed reaches up to 15 miles per hour even and they leap out long.

How High Can Penguins Jump Out Of The Water?

The maximum height a penguin takes is over 9 feet  out of the water. The Gentoo penguins can jump up to 5 feet out of the water. Thus the two ranges give an estimate of an average of 2-3 feet.

In Fact, the jump out of water has some definite purposes. The purposes define the procedure of porpoising and the underwater swim.

For a higher and more powerful jump, the momentum they gain is from the underwater swim. They need to cover longer distances which is possible due to powerful jumps. Here is a quick look at the diving and porpoising cycle of the penguins.


Do Penguins Jump Off Cliffs?

Yes, there are many instances where you can find them jumping off the cliffs into the sea. Commonly, it is a practice by Adelie and Chinstrap penguins who live in such hard rock areas near the sea. It has been found dangerous for them, causing injuries or death sometimes.

However, a video filmed on the Falkland Islands shows rockhopper penguins having a base jump in the rough sea.

Is It Possible For Penguins To Fly?

Technically speaking, they can’t fly. They have denser bones and are called flightless. But if you talk about their flippers, they swim at such a high speed, up to 20 miles per hour. The swim is like gliding in the water, which is 900 times denser than the air.

What Animal Can Jump 30 Feet?

The high jump takes your mind to kangaroos, isn’t it? Well, yes, it is the red kangaroo that has a strong musculoskeletal system. It can take a jump of 30 feet in a single bound.

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How Long Can A Rockhopper Penguin Stay Underwater?

It is the northern rockhopper penguin which can stay underwater for over 2 minutes. They dive deep to 100 meters in search of prey.


Although penguins are known as flightless birds, they have unique adaptations to help them survive in harsh climatic conditions. They have a unique jumping feature on land and in water which helps them to move ahead and fight their low capacity for walking.

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