Facts about Emperor penguins
Emperor penguins facts
They inhabit Antarctica and the surrounding waters of the Southern Ocean. These penguins grow about 45 inches (115 cm) tall. They breed and raise their young almost exclusively on sea ice, in colonies that may contain over1000 individuals. Only a few colonies breed on land. Emperor penguins are the only penguin species that breed during the brutal Antarctic winter.

  • Their thick layer of blubber, combined with their thick layer of feathers helps them to stay warm. Most emperor penguins mate with the same individual for life. Females lay a single egg, which they pass off to the males. Then, the females go off to the ocean to hunt for 2 months. 

  • They primarily feed on fish, squid, and krill.

  • The males are responsible for protecting the eggs. They balance them on their feet and cover them with a fold of skin called the brood pouch. 

  • The Penguins will huddle together to escape the wind and conserve warmth. 

  • They take turns moving to the interior of the group, where it is warmer. Males eat nothing for the two months that they care for the eggs, causing them to lose half their body weight.

  • Females come back well fed when it is time for the chicks to hatch. They regurgitate food from their stomach to feed to the newly hatched chicks. At this time, the males will go off to feed. Only 50% of chicks survive to the end of the breeding season. 

  • As a chick grows, both parents take turns caring for it. By December, the Antarctic summer,the sea ice has begun to break up and the young penguins are ready to feed on their own. 

  • Emperor penguins are excellent swimmers. They have the deepest and longest dives of any bird species. They can dive down to 1800 feet (550m) below the surface and stay underwater for over20 minutes.

These penguins are threatened by climate change because it affects the sea ice that they depend on. Not only is sea ice important for successful breeding, but krill, a major food source for emperor penguins, relies on the organisms that grow on the underside of sea ice for food. With less sea ice, there is less food for krill, causing there to be less krill for emperor penguins.