Tim Griffin

I wish I were a penguin in the Southern hemisphere
A humboldt or galapagos with flipper-wings to steer
Befeathered like a fjordland, or maybe magellanic
Oh I wish I were a penguin, all the fish would flee in panic

I wish I were a penguin, I’d be flightless and exotic
Forsaking aviation for a lifestyle more aquatic
I’d fly beneath the ocean as I close in for the kill
Oh I wish I were a penguin hunting fish and squid and krill.

(bridge) If I could be a penguin on the Southern polar ice
Maybe swiftly swimming through the Southern sea
Or nearer the equator where the weather is much nicer
Even a chubby little chinstrap would be good enough for me

With my countershaded plumage, I would be a real show-stopper
I’d be hard to see beneath the sea, adelie or rock-hopper
White-flippered or an African, or even a gentoo
Oh I wish I were a penguin, yellow-eyed or little blue

For if I were a penguin, a royal or a king
An emperor of Antarctica with a flipper for a wing
I might be macaroni, erect-crested, or a snares
Oh I wish I were a penguin, for the Southern seas are theirs!


A key theme for life science in the primary grades is that animals and plants must adapt to their environment, and penguins are a fine example as their adaptations are easy to see.

Here are some academic content standards from the NGSS addressed by this song:

-K-ESS3-3. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.

1.LS1.A. All organisms have external parts. Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water and air. Plants also have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow. 

2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

3.LS4-3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.