- Genus/Species: Aptenodytes forsteri
- Conservation Status: Near Threatened
- Location: Antarctica
Antarctica’s Famous Inhabitant
The emperor penguin lives in colonies on pack ice in Antarctica. It has a big head, a short, thick neck, a streamlined shape, a short, wedge-shaped tail, webbed feet and tiny, flipper-like wings, which it uses for swimming, not flying. It is kept warm in the harsh environment by a thick layer of blubber or fat and by insulating feathers. Slow and dignified, the emperor penguin is a stunning bird with a blue-grey back that shades into a black tail, and a characteristically white belly flushed with yellow. To survive in the icy environment, emperor penguins huddle together in groups of up to 5000, to keep each other warm. Once a penguin has warmed a bit, it will move to the outside of the group so that others can enjoy protection from the freezing winds
The emperor penguin is up to 3.7 feet tall and weighs up to 65 pounds which is about half the size of an adult person. These penguins are meat eaters who love fish and squid. Climate change can cause a colossal reduction in the extent of the Antarctic sea-ice. This would result in the loss of large areas where the emperor penguin can breed, which can cause a decline in their populations. Therefore, it is important to take steps to reduce global warming and prevent climate change.
Did You Know?
- After the female emperor penguin lays an egg, she goes off to search for food. It is the male that looks after the egg, keeping it warm till it hatches.
- During the months of babysitting the egg, the male does not eat anything.
- The male balances the egg on his feet and covers it with a feathered pouch to protect it.
- Emperor penguins can dive deeper than any bird and stay underwater for up to 20 minutes at a time.