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Friday, April 15, 2016

Emperor Penguin

Photo Credit: Ehquionest
The emperor penguin is not only the largest seabird, it is also the hardiest. Living on the Antarctic ice pack, it endures sub-zero temperatures and hurricane-force winds.

The sight of emperor penguins waddling over the ice, flapping their specially adapted wings, is quite comical. These birds have exchanged a mastery of land and air for grace and agility in the water, together with an ability to survive in Antarctica, one of the word's harshest and most demanding environment.

The emperor penguin is found only on the Antarctic ice packs and in the surrounding oceans. Although the emperor penguin is a marine bird and feeds exclusively at sea, its breeding sites, called rookeries, are usually situated on the solid ice under the shelter of an ice cliff, often many miles inland.

Emperor penguins prey on fish, squid, and shrimp. Although they are not fast swimmers, reaching only 3 to 5 miles per hour, penguins are agile and quite adept at catching their prey.

Did you know? 
  • The emperor penguin can dive to a depth of 870 feet and can stay underwater for 18 minutes. 
  • During the breeding season, males may not feed from March until July, a total of 110-115 days without food. 
  • Unlike flying birds, the emperor penguin does not have light, air-filled bones, its heavier bones cause it to be less buoyant in the water, which allows it to dive below the surface with ease.

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