Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the largest of all penguins; adults average about 1.1 metres (4 feet) and weigh 30 or more kilograms (75 lbs). Emperor Penguins eat crustaceans (such as krills), squid, and small fish. They live for around 20 years— some records indicate a maximum of 40. (Note that the King Penguin is a different species, and the Royal Penguin is a subspecies of the Rockhopper Penguin.)
In order to find food, these penguins need to dive 150-250 metres into Southern Ocean. The deepest diving on record is 565 metres. The longest they can hold their breath when underwater is 20 minutes. Their swimming speed is 6-8 km per hour.
In response to the cold, emperor penguins will stand in a compact huddle, whether in a group of ten or many hundreds of birds, each one leaning forward on a neighbor. Those on the outside tend to face inward and push slowly forward. This produces a slow churning action, giving each bird a turn on the inside.
A distinguishing character between male and female is their call .
Reproduction and breeding
March or April, the penguins start courtship, when the temperature can be as low as -40 degrees Celsius. In May or June, female penguin lays one 450-gram egg and abandons it immediately. The male will incubate the egg in its brood pouch for about 65 days consecutively without food by surviving on his fat reserves. To survive the cold and wind (up to 200 km per hour), the males huddle together. The female returns after two months with food in her stomach, which is regurgitated to feed the newly hatched chicks. They tend to be monogamous unless their mate dies.
After hatching, the chicks huddle in a crèche.
In early and mid-20th century, the penguins were hunted for their fat.
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