Of all penguin species, Emperor penguins are perhaps the most well known and recognized. The largest of penguin species, Emperor penguins are large, heavy and can dive great distances for food.
Penguin name: Emperor penguin
Scientific name: Aptenodytes forsteri
Size: Emperor penguins can grow up to 40 inches tall!
Location: Emperors live in the Weddell and Ross Sea regions of the Antarctic
What Do They Eat? Mostly, these penguins eat large fish, squid and crustaceans
Main Enemies: Emperor penguins watch out for sea lions, sharks and whales
photo by Martha de Jong-Lantink
Did you know that Emperor penguins are the biggest species of penguins and can weigh up to almost 90 pounds? They may be the largest breed of penguin, but the females only lay one egg at a time, during the coldest part of the year!
Another interesting detail about Emperor penguins, besides their cute factor, is that they are some great divers. The Emperors can dive nearly 700 feet down to reach food, and can swim under water for almost twenty minutes! Humans can rarely hold their breath two or three minutes under water, let alone twenty!
The Emperors also carry about 70 – yes, someone counted – feathers for every square inch of their body, which helps to keep them warm in the sub-zero temperatures and high winds of the arctic winters.
The Emperor penguin is truly the “King” of the breed, with their colorful black, yellow and blue colors and white bellies. These guys also have webbed feet to help them swim. They also have very small “wings” which act more like flippers than anything else.
Unlike most of their penguin cousins, Emperor penguins don’t lay eggs in a nest. They raise their young with the warmth of their bodies, balancing their egg on their feet! The eggs stay warm because of the “brood pouch” that is actually an extra roll of padding made of feathers and skin that helps keep the egg or the baby penguin warm and tucked safely away from the frigid temperatures and wind. As the babies grow, they balance on their father’s feet until they’re old enough to start “walking” by themselves.