Emperor Penguins Facts

Emperor Penguins Facts

Emperor penguins fact # 1
The Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is one of the two species of penguin that can be found on the Antarctic mainland. The other species is the Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae). An Emperor penguin is much taller and heavier than an Adelie penguin, and unlike the Adelie penguin it will breed during the harsh Antarctic winter.  

Emperor penguins fact # 2
As mentioned above, the Emperor penguin is larger than the Adelie penguin. The Emperor penguin is actually the tallest and heaviest of the worlds’ penguin species and can reach a size of 110 centimeters (3 ft 9 in) or even more. The typical weight range is 25-40 kilograms, and the male Emperor penguin can decrease to half of his normal weight when he is protecting his offspring.

Emperor penguins facts # 3
The Emperor penguin has a black cap and a blue-grey beck. Near the ears you can notice distinctive orange ear-patches. The bill is also orange, while the breast has a yellow shade.

Emperor penguins facts # 4
Emperor penguins feed chiefly on crustaceans, e.g. small krill, but they also love fish and squid. An interesting Emperor penguin fact is their amazing ability for deep dives. We know that the Emperor penguin can dive down to at least 565 meters (1870 feet). Most Emperor penguins will however stay in the 150 - 250 meter (490 - 820 feet) range when hunting for food. Another fascinating Emperor penguin fact has to do with their ability for holding their breath. Even though it is a bird with lungs that need to breathe atmospheric oxygen to survive, the Emperor penguin can stay submerged for 20 minutes.    

Emperor penguins facts # 5
An Emperor penguin can achieve a swimming speed up to 19 km/h (12 mph) during short burst. The normal swimming speed is 6 to 9 km/h (4 to 6 mph). This can be compared to the fastest human swimmers that will reach a speed of roughly 8 km/h (5 mph) during intense swimming.

Emperor penguins fact # 6
Since the Emperor penguins inhabit such a remote and harsh part of the world, their social behavior can be quite difficult to study in their natural environment. Scientists have however still been able to gather some interesting Emperor penguin facts and today we know that these animals are very social creatures that perform a wide range of activities together. The Emperor penguins will for instance nest and forage in groups. During bad whether, the penguins will stick together to protect themselves. You can see huge amounts of Emperor penguins huddling together in compact groups consisting of anything from ten to several hundreds of penguins. Each bird will lean forward on its neighbor, and penguins found in the outskirts of the group will face inward and slowly try to push themselves into the group. The positions will therefore not be static, and eventually the bird might be able to obtain a spot inside the group – until it is gradually forced to the outskirts again by new birds that want to get into the warm centre.   

Emperor penguins fact # 5
There exist at least 40 different colonies of Emperor penguins in the Antarctic. The smallest colonies, such as the one found at the Dion Islands, comprise no more than 200 pairs, while the biggest ones can consist of more than 50,000 pairs. One of the biggest colonies of Emperor penguins lives on Coulman Island. Estimations show that there exist 150,000 to 200,000 breeding pairs of Emperor Penguins. It is hard to obtain a definite number, since the only way to find out how many breeding pairs there are, is to count the males when they are incubating their eggs during the winter. The incubating males are found in remote areas of the Arctic and reaching these colonies during the relentless Arctic winter is easier said than done.

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