Emperor Penguin

The largest penguin in the world lives only Antarctica

The emperor penguin is the most evocative penguin species in the world. It is also the largest penguin. This animal was and is the epitome of countless nature documentaries because of its special way of life.

The emperor penguin is imposing, graceful and larger than many people expect. These birds can weigh nearly 40 pounds. These animals can live to be over 20 years old. Emperor penguins are only found in Antarctica.

Researchers have found that these animals can stay underwater for more than 25 minutes in their search for food. Where they can dive to more than 500 eater deep. Unprecedented figures for a bird. The menu includes krill and other crustaceans, as well as squid and fish.

How do I recognise an emperor penguin?

The emperor penguin can be recognised by its striking orange spots behind the eyes. These birds look remarkably like the king penguin, but this one is not found in Antarctica. The emperor penguin can grow over 110 centimeters and weigh about 30 kilos. It is their size in particular that makes them differ. The king penguin grows to only 90 centimeters. The emperor penguin also has a curved beak; the king penguins beak is straight.

Only penguin that breeds in Antarctica in winter

Remarkably, this species is the only one that breeds on the pack ice along the continent. It is not until the other penguin species have raised their young that the emperor penguin starts brooding. The female lays one egg, which is incubated by the male.

Mind you, this is during the winter in Antarctica. Sometimes it can be 60 degrees below zero while these birds are breeding. The female then disappears back into the sea to grow a fat layer. The males put the egg on their legs to keep it warm with a special cover fold. The male has to fast and stands out in the cold with other males, standing very close to each other.

The female will come back after two months when the egg has hatched. She then takes over care of the baby. This is done in a kind of nursery, where there are often hundreds of young animals. The males have lost about half their weight and then go to the sea to eat.

This penguin species is the symbol for Antarctica, the only place where it can be seen. Where they live in large colonies that you can visit on special excursions. Its Latin name is aptenodytes forsteri.

If you visit Antarctica, this animal is high on your bucket list. And you will automatically hear the Latin name when the guide gives information about these interesting birds.

Best place to see the Emperor Penguin