Image: Emperor Penguin and Chick Illustration

Emperor Penguin and Chick Illustration

Emperor Penguins are black and white diving birds that live in large colonies among the pack ice of Antarctica. They have a narrow downward-curving beak and webbed feet with long toenails. They call with a yapping sound.

Creator:
Andrew Howells
Rights:
© Australian Museum

Notes

Emperor Penguins are black and white diving birds that live in large colonies among the pack ice of Antarctica. They have a narrow downward-curving beak and webbed feet with long toenails. They call with a yapping sound.

Emperor Penguins search the waters beneath the pack ice and dive into cracks and holes in the ice to look for crustaceans, fish and squid. They search for crustaceans and small fish on shallow dives and bigger fish and squid on deeper dives. They catch their prey in their beak and swallow it whole underwater or they go to the surface to swallow it.

Emperor Penguins do not make nests. The female lays her single egg on the ice and the male places it on his feet and covers it with his stomach fat and feathers to keep it warm. The male keeps the egg warm for nine weeks until the female returns from feeding at sea and the egg is transferred to her feet. The male goes to sea and feeds, having eaten nothing for nine weeks while keeping the egg warm. The egg soon hatches and the female gives the chick its first meal. Both parents then take turns looking after the chick.

All of the chicks in a colony stay on shore together, while their parents go out and hunt for their food. The chicks begin to swim and feed themselves when they are four months old.

Emperor Penguins are the largest of all penguins, growing over 1 m in height. They are also the deepest divers of any birds, reaching depths of 565 m, and can stay underwater for 22 minutes.

Find out more about the Emperor Penguin on the Birds in Backyards website.

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