Amazing Emperor Penguins
Emperor Penguins thrive in the coldest, most extreme environment on Earth— Antarctica. Like all penguins, they do not fly and clumsy walkers because their wings, feet and body shape are adapted to diving and swimming. Their feathers, which look more like fur, capture a layer of air that insulates and helps keep them afloat.
These birds can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes while diving. They have solid bones that resist crushing under the incredible water pressure experienced during their 500 m dives.
The striking black and white plumage of Emperor Penguins helps to hide them from predators while swimming. From below, their white bellies blend in with the reflective water surface while their dark backs provide camouflage from above. They also have bright yellow patches around their ears.
In winter, Emperor Penguins walk almost 20 km across the ice to their breeding territories. Pairs bond closely, and the female lays one egg before returning to the ocean to feed. The males huddle in huge congregations to keep warm, incubating the egg on top of their feet for two months. In spring the mothers return and each female locates her mate by the sound of his call. She feeds the chick by regurgitating food. Both parents take turns to brood and catch food for the chick until late summer, when Emperor Penguins return to the sea until the next breeding season.