After the recent announcement from Seaworld saying they have successfully hatched 2 penguins what a perfect chance to blog. This type of Penguin is the only animal to inhabit the open ice of Antarctica during the winter. They face wind chills as cold as -60°C (-76°F) and blizzards of 200 km/h (124 mph). They are the largest penguins in the world, standing tall over a meter tall, these flightless animals live in the Antarctic all year long. As you can see the adults vary drastically from the youngsters. The adults will have a yellow and orange colouring which gets lighter the further down it goes down the body. However, hatchlings are born with grey fur.
Let’s get onto their habitat and their dietary requirements. As mentioned earlier they can face winds of -60°C (-76°F). They are social animals, both foraging, and nesting in groups.They can dive up to 1800 feet deep and hold their breath for up to 20 minutes. They can also make 2 different vocalisations. As they waddle around in thousands its hard during the mating season to determine the difference. They will usually use a long sound to communicate only a few meters away. The other sound is a short sound which can be heard long distance. Fish, squid, and krill provide enough protein and nutrients that emperor penguins need to replenish their energy.
The main threat to the Emperor penguin is the Leopard seal, although sharks, killer whales, and other seals do hunt these penguins. The penguins are most vulnerable to the leopard seal through this is due to the seal been able to either catch the penguins on land or in the water. The penguin, however, is very quick in the water with a streamlined body and flippers to propel it forward it is well adapted for avoiding predators and catching fast fish.
During the breeding season, females go as far as 600 miles away from the mainland while males move away only half of that distance. During mating season females will travel up to 50 miles just to find a suitable nesting site which is acceptable to lay eggs and is a good hunting ground for food.They will explore the lands for many miles in groups also known as “waddles” consisting of more than 5000 penguins. 5000 are the number of males that huddle around each other to keep each other warm. The reproduction month for penguins is during April where they will begin to start to march towards their nesting site. The most dangerous part of the breeding process is where the females transfer the eggs to the male. Is this goes wrong then this could cause the egg to die. Then after this process, the male will not sit on the eggs but instead stand above the eggs to incubate them. The female will then proceed to break the surface of the water and go in search of food. The female returns and regurgitates the food for the baby chicks. If the female is longer than expected then the male will bring up a white substance which will keep the chicks going for a couple more days. The male will change places with the female.
Parents take turns six times, walking that distance, in search of food that their hungry chicks loudly request. After 140 days, the parents don’t return anymore, and the young penguins have to survive on their own.
An interesting fact you didn’t know before reading this!!!
Penguins are the only water bird that cannot fly. Instead, scientists believe that they didn’t find a requirement to travel long distances through evolution but instead they were adapted to be agiler in the water and be adapted to regulate their body temperature in changing weather conditions.