The Ultimate Guide to Emperor Penguins

Emperor penguins are the highest and heaviest species in the Antarctic and indigenous. The plumages and sizes of the males and females are comparable in length and weigh up to 100 cm.

Emperor Penguins

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Where does the name emperor penguin come from?

It is named after the German scientist Johann Reinhold Forster. He was accompanied on his second journey by Captain James Cook. They formally identified five additional penguin species.

Biology of an emperor penguin

The biggest marine birds in the Antarctic are emperor penguins, measuring 101-132 cm. They have 76-89 cm wing spans. The black and White bodies of these penguins are steep black.

They’re black in their back, head, chin, throat and back. They are entirely white up to their necks on their bottoms and ventral surfaces. They have orange and yellow auricular (ear-area) patches that fade to their shoulders.

This yellow becomes white towards the top of the breast. Their heads and breasts are likewise orange and yellow. Emperor penguins have lengthy black beaks along their lower mandibles, and pinkish orange stripes. As adults, Emperor penguins weigh between 25 and 45 kg. During mating and feeding seasons they quickly acquire and lose weight. Women tend to weigh 18 kg lower on average than men.

Special adaptations to the cold

Emperors are exceedingly isolated in the shape of multiple levels of scalable plumes — winds (above 60 knots or approximately 110 kilometers per hour) take very long to sweep them away. They have tiny notes and pinpoints to maintain heat in relation to their total size.

Physical features

Around the head, neck and breast, the adults are colored black & white with orange and yellow patches. Some of these species may grow to over 130 cm tall and weigh between 25-45 kg and roughly 50 inches (55 to 100 pounds). Their plumage, pale white to light gray feathers in place of those colored orange and yellow, is identical to that of the adults. The dimly feathers are silver-gray on the body of the chicks. Although the plumbing around the eyes is white, it is black in the rest of the skull. The Emperor Penguin closely resembles the King Penguin, a smaller species living on few remote Antarctic islands.

How fast can emperor penguins move?

For emperors the greatest speed is at 2.8 kph is (1.7mph). Emperor penguins, slide on ice on their bellies. The emperor penguins swim 14.4 kph (8.9 mi/h) however usually they do not surpass 10.8 kph (6.7 mph).

Interesting Behaviors of an Emperor Penguin

Emperor penguins are the world largest penguins. They can dive deeper than any bird, including any other Penguin. Emperor  Penguins do not construct nests. Rather, they operate as the nests of their feet and their brood patches.

Do emperor penguins socialize?

Emperor penguins are renowned for their collaboration in foraging. They share a great deal of behavior with other Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic species. A group of penguins is called a “raft” during sea time. Penguins establish huge colonies on land, though.

With humans, they’re extremely friendly. The major predators of the pinguin (seals, sea lions, whales and sharks) all live in the water. So they feel more safer on land, for the better or for bad, among researchers and visitors.


One of nature’s great survivors are Emperor Penguins. They can withstand the cool cold of the winter in Antarctica. If temperatures fall to or below -20°C. They huddle together in close-knit groups to keep the heat. They protect themselves from the severe winds in order to prevent them from freezing to death.

Locations of the Emperor Penguin

Emperor Penguin’s colonies lie in regions blocked by ice most of the year in South Antarctica.

Conservation status

Although Antarctic Penguins are not listed as endangered. Emperor Penguins are almost threatened. Meaning that they will soon shift to a threatened category. Macaroni and southern rockhopper penguins are classified fragile. Meaning, if present risks persist, they are in danger of extinction.

How many emperor penguins are there today?

In Antarctica there are around 595,000 mature Penguins of the Emperor. However, we don’t know too much about these amazing arctic species because of a dearth of study. This is why, because the more we know, the better we can preserve research in the Antarctic

The Emperor Penguin: Life Cycle

While in Antarctica emperors do not dwell in their courtyards. They have life cycles, or phases from an egg to a chick, and eventually an adult as the birds you see every day.

How long do emperor penguins live?

Emperor Penguins have a life range of 15 to 20 years in the wild, with males sometimes living up to 50 years old. Research, however, indicates that just 1% of penguins reach this age. Captive penguins are 20 to 34 years old.

Family Life

During each mating season, emperor penguins are monogamous and choose only one partner. The next year is usually a different mate, although some pairings decide again to create a relationship. The female passes the egg to the male around May or June when the egg is hatched.

Reproduction and Parenting

A female emperor’s penguin takes one ovum to the top of the foot of her partner. The female goes to sea to feed as the male incubates the egg. Some weeks later, generally just before the egg is due to hatch, she comes back to relieve her partner so he may feed

Predators and prey

Killer Whales, Leopard Seals and the Giant Petrel are prey to emperors. Leopard Seal is the most harmful predator, who may have 15 penguins per day, however they generally only capture the ill and the weak ones. Usually healthy penguins can out swim a Leopard Seal.

What do Emperor Penguins eat?

Emperors primarily eat on Antarctic silverfish and other fish, krill (like Happy Feet Will&Bill) and squid. An adult penguin consumes around 2-3 kg a day, although they may eat twice as much on a good day to grow body fat in their long winter or nourish them.


The emperors are the biggest, with an average of about 45 inches in height. These flyless creatures dwell in the cold seas and on Antarctic ice. Killer Whales, Leopard Seals and the Giant Petrel are prey to emperors. Leopard Seal is the most harmful predator. Emperor Penguins have a life range of 15 to 20 years for the wild, although some researches have shown that men are up to 50 years old. Research, however, indicates that just 1% of penguins reach this age. Captive penguins are 20 to 34 years old.

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