Who is the sovereign ruler of the penguin empire? The emperor penguin, of course, is the only animal on earth that doesn’t leave Antarctica’s open ice in the dead of winter or any other time for that matter. Known as the elegant bird with the funny walk, there are interesting facts you probably never knew about the emperor penguin. Here’s our take …
- The emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all known penguins. They reach up to 122 cm in height and weigh anywhere from 22 to 45kg. Heavier than that, they are put on a strict diet.
- Though it’s considered a bird and has wings – highest feather density of any bird species, it cannot fly. Sneaking up behind one allows it to wish it could fly, however …
- The emperor penguin is a great traveler. Every year, adults take exhausting journeys to mate and feed their offspring. Kind of like parents of all species, no?
- Must be a great lover, too. They manage to breed in the coldest environment possible with air temperatures reaching -40 °C. Well, if I lived in that cold a place I’d want to snuggle with someone, too and not be blamed for the consequences.
- The female emperor lays one single egg and then leaves for the sea to feed.
- During the incubation period, the male emperors prove to be great babysitters. Their job is to keep the egg warm.
- The Emperor Penguin chick is typically covered with silver-grey down and has a black head and white mask. They don’t get their tuxedos till a bit later on.
- To escape wind and conserve warmth, the Emperor Penguins huddle together. Once it has warmed, others will take its place moving to the inside of the group. They learn to share like this in penguin kindergarten.
- An Emperor Penguin can hold its breath anywhere up to 20 minutes, and dive over 550 meters (1,800 ft).
- Emperor Penguins rely only on vocal calls for individual recognition between parents, offspring, and mates.
- Used to the cold, at over 20 °C the emperor penguin becomes agitated and lifts its wings to expose more parts of the body. Well, when I get warm, I want to show my body parts, too…but I refrain.
- When they’re not tobogganing – sliding over the ice on its belly, the Emperor Penguin walks with a wobbling gait or proves its swimming talents (its average swimming speed is 6–9 km/h). That’s faster than I can run.
- Emperor penguins feed on fish, squid, krill and crustaceans, except when they violate number one above.
- They can only be found in the Southern Hemisphere.
- The emperor penguin’s enemies are the killer whales, leopard seals, and walrus.
And just to make the facts even more interesting, here’s an amazing pictures gallery. It’s an amazing bird, no?