Emperor Penguins Behavior
Life in the water
In sea water, Emperor Penguins are always making a lot of noise and are always gathered in many groups. They can perform all vital functions in water, even sleeping. They float easily with their large amount of fat and swim fast, they are specialized for diving; its rigid wings are similar to those of other vertebrate fin Swimmers. They usually spend most of their time in the water, swimming with the help of wings.
They are active and quick to reach their prey, the nozzle is robust and long, adapted to take and retain crustaceans, mollusks, fish, and other small marine animals, their preferred food.
They are very meek and only attack man when he comes too close. They are fun, friendly and curious.
Pregnancy and pups
The incubation period lasts from 5 to 6 weeks - if the parents take turns in search of food, so that the egg will never be abandoned.
In the first weeks of life, the penguin will eat foods that the parents have already digested and will be on permanently watched, protected from the predators and the bad weather.
When the young reaches the size of adulthood, the fuzz is replaced by feathers, a sign that it is time to learn to swim, and it is time to leave the place and return to sea, where it will (for several months) wait to restart the cycle.
After the male and female have gotten together, they continue to call and bow to each other. Different penguin species have different ways of attracting each other. These behaviors are important. They help the male and female form a close bond. It takes two parents working together to raise even one chick successfully.
- Emperor Penguins are the only species of penguin that are not territorial. They are social animals, they live in group foraging and nesting together. In severe winter the penguins stay together in a group and form a circle for their protection. The ones in the middle, the warmer area, switch places with the ones in the edge …and they keep doing this on and on. They stay active day and night.
They always travel and forage together in groups.
The estimate is there exists at least 250,000 Emperor Penguins and they are distributed in 40 independent Antarctic colonies. The Emperors normally dive 150 and 250 m (490 to 820 ft), although they can go deeper, and their deepest record on diving is 565 m (1870 ft). The emperor penguins can hold their breath underwater up to 22 minutes. Their speed is 6 - 9 km/h (4 - 6 mph), although they can score up to 19 km/h (12 mph). On land the emperor penguins have a walking and wobbling gait and also slide over the ice on their bellies, propelled by their feet and their flipper-like wings.
- After the chicks reach the age of about three weeks, they form small groups called crèches or kindergartens. In these groups the chicks gain protection from skua attacks. And they also huddle close together for warmth. For the first time both parents are able to leave the nest site to feed at sea. After they return to land from feeding, the adults look for a quiet spot on the shore, where they rest before going back to the colony to feed their chicks.
Parents and chicks recognize each other by their voices. Once the chick identifies its parent, it leaves the crèche and runs toward the adult to beg for food. Sometimes the chick is too pushy and the adult runs away, pursued by the persistent chick. This food chase often goes through the entire colony. Finally the adult stops and regurgitates food to feed its chick.
Emperor penguins do not defend territories and have incorporated many highly original elements to their displays. Huddling together to stave off the worst of the Antarctic winter, Emperors cannot afford to be too aggressive. For his ecstatic display the male sings with lowered head and once his mate appears the pair assumes a face-to – face posture.
The little penguins grow very fast. Soon they lose their fluffy down coat and grow their adult feathers.
They also learn how to waddle around. When the chicks are a little older, their parents bring them to the seashore. Instead of being afraid, the young penguins jump right into the water. They do not even need swimming lessons.