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Emperor Penguins

The Emperor Penguin is the most easily recognizable penguin – with it’s bright yellow neck, black body and white belly, it’s the penguin portrayed most often in the media and in movies. They have a large head, a thick, stubby neck, with a streamlined, smooth body, a chunky wedge for a tail, waterproof feathers and tiny wings that resemble little flippers. They are quite similar to the King penguins.

Emperor penguins can often be up to 120 centimetres tall, weighing anywhere between 25 to 40 kilograms. They are also the largest species of penguins. They’re located only in the Southern Hemisphere – they often spend their entire lives in the seas that are around Antarctica, like many other penguins. They use their flippers to swim, and can stay under water for an incredible 20 minutes. Emperor penguins can often dive up to 500 metres, though they often stay above 300. While they can swim and dive, it’s well know that Emperor penguins cannot fly!

Emperor penguins mostly subsist on a diet of fish and squid. These penguins work together to stay warm and not freeze during the cold months – they’ll all huddle together to keep away from the wind and stay warm. They actually take turns being in the middle, so they all get their fair share of the warmth.

Even during the most brutal temperatures, penguins still breed, and spend winter on the ice – they are the only Arctic birds that breed in the winter. Emperor penguins have an extraordinarily unique incubation process. The female lays the egg, then leaving it behind, which she then passes to the male, then heading out to sea to feed. During this time, the male continues to incubate the egg for about two months, and often doesn’t eat much during this time. Once the female returns, the egg is transferred back to her, and then it is the male’s turn to go out to sea to feed. The two then both care for the chick until it can take care of itself. Mothers, as with most penguins, will care for the younger chicks and protect them in a small pouch – if it weren’t for these pouches, the chicks would die. As the seasons change and it becomes summer, the chicks are finally able to hunt and swim on their own, and begin to fend for themselves.

 

One Response to “Emperor Penguin”

  • Chad Ellis:

    Given the fact that Emperor Penguins live and breed on the most unforgiving continent in the world, I say that they are the toughest animals in the world.

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