The largest of the family, Emperor penguins are known to be the only species that reproduce in the harsh winters. Here are some facts about these penguins, and their behavioral patterns.
Emperor penguins are the largest of the different kinds of species that are present in the cold waters of the Antarctic. This is also the only kind of species that breeds in the winters.
An adult Emperor penguin can stand up to around 120 cm in height, and weigh anywhere between 22 to 45 kg (49 to 99 lb). There are also certain distinct features and behavioral patterns of these penguins.
When it comes to keeping themselves warm, Emperor Penguins are known to use very clever ideas. Here, they clump together in a mass and take their turns moving to the inside of the group. This protects them from the icy cold temperatures and keeps them warm.
They have colorful feathers around their necks and heads. These have yellow ear patches that fade into the white of the breast feathers. The chicks have a distinctive plumage with a large face patch, which is white in color.
The winter season arrives in the month of March in Antarctica. Almost all creatures are known to leave the area, except the Emperor penguins, because this is the only animal that spends the winter season breeding on the freezing ice.
They are known to use a distinctive set of sounds to establish individual identity. These are different when it comes to the parents and the offspring.
The female lays a single egg and leaves it to travel the open sea.
The females are known to travel up to 50 miles. The male takes care of the egg by balancing it on his feet. The egg is covered with the brood pouch, which keeps it warm. During this time, these penguins are known to be almost without any food intake, for about 65 days.
The females are known to return after two months from the sea. This is the time they come with food to feed the hatched chicks. With the arrival of the female, the male then leaves for the sea to hunt on his own.
This is time when the female takes care of the young ones in the brood pouch.
These penguins usually feed on fish, krill, and squid. Their dives are the longest and even the deepest as compared to any other species of penguins. They are known to dive to a depth of 1,800 feet. This is what enables them to source food which other birds cannot even have access to.
They are known to stay faithful to their partners. They mate once a year, and end up with other partners the next year if they are unable to locate their previous partners.
Adult penguins are known to leave their young ones in a group of chicks, which are called crèches. This is done when they need to go and fish in the deep waters.
This species is also known to be very social in behavior. This is the reason why they are also seen huddled together sometimes to keep themselves warm.
They are known to reach sexual maturity at around 5 years of age. They begin their courtship around the months of March or April, and are also known to travel over 50 miles inland to their breeding sites.
These species are also very good swimmers, and have a hydro dynamically shaped body. This is what helps them in the diving process, and also makes it easy to find food. These creatures are very graceful and extremely fast in the water.
These are also known to hold their breath for up to 20 minutes when they are swimming in the cold waters.
There is also a certain kind of a hierarchy amongst the Emperor penguins. They always follow the leader.