Emperor Penguin

Emperor Penguin Manchot empereur

Scientific Name
Aptenodytes forsteri
48 inches
22 to 45 kg
20 years
Crustaceans and Cephalopods
Leopard Seal
Skuas (Hunting penguin chicks)
The Emperor Penguin is one of the 18 penguin species in Antarctica. They are also the species who has the larger species (with the exception of prehistoric species like Icadyptes).


In the Real WorldEdit

Emperors are the largest of all penguins—an average bird stands some 45 inches (115 centimeters) tall. These flightless animals live on the Antarctic ice and in the frigid surrounding waters.

Penguins employ physiological adaptations and cooperative behaviors in order to deal with an incredibly harsh environment, where wind chills can reach -76°F (-60°C).

They huddle together to escape the wind and conserve warmth. Individuals take turns moving to the group's protected and relatively toasty interior. Once a penguin has warmed a bit it will move to the perimeter of the
Kaiserpinguine mit Jungen

Real Emperor Penguins standing about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall.

group so that others can enjoy protection from the icy elements.

Emperor penguins spend the long winter on the open ice—and even breed during this harsh season. Females lay a single egg and then promptly leave it behind. They undertake an extended hunting trip that lasts some two months! Depending on the extent of the ice pack, females may need to travel some 50 miles (80 kilometers) just to reach the open ocean, where they will feed on fish, squid, and krill. At sea, emperor penguins can dive to 1,850 feet (565 meters)—deeper than any other bird—and stay under for more than 20 minutes.


A emperor penguin colony

Male emperors keep the newly laid eggs warm, but they do not sit on them, as many other birds do. Males stand and protect their eggs from the elements by balancing them on their feet and covering them with feathered skin known as a brood pouch. During this two-month bout of babysitting, the males eat nothing and are at the mercy of the Antarctic elements.

When female penguins return to the breeding site, they bring a belly full of food that they regurgitate for the newly hatched chicks. Meanwhile, their duty done, male emperors take to the sea in search of food for themselves.

Mothers care for their young chicks and protect them with the warmth of their own brood pouches. Outside of this warm cocoon, a chick could die in just a few minutes. In December, Antarctic summer, the pack ice begins to break up and open water appears near the breeding site, just as young emperor penguins are ready to swim and fish on their own. The mothers also have dangerously strong maternal instincts, as some have been known to kidnap other chicks to replace their own that have been lost.

In the Happy Feet seriesEdit

Male Emperor penguins with their chicks

In the Happy Feet series, the emperor penguins are the main characters of the series. They all reside in Emperor-Land but until Happy Feet Two, the huge iceberg that is known as the "Doomberg" blocked the only entrance and exit of their territory. When Mumble, with the penguin species, Lovelace, Sven, the elephant seals, and the krills (under the ice in the sea) come to Emperor-Land, they dance and sing "Under Pressure" to free the emperor nation. Underwater, Will stomps on the ice as the Doomberg begins to break down to make a hill. At the end of the film, the Emperor Penguins become free at last to go to a new home.

In Education, It is shown that young penguins attend school, and set out on their own for a brief time when they graduate.

For Courtship, Emperors find life-long mates with their Heartsongs. Because different species of penguin use different courting methods, it is not known if Emperors are the only penguins to possess such songs.

And in Religion, the Emperors are shown to worship a deity known as The Great 'Guin. The Great 'Guin is said to have the power to make fish appear and disappear, as well as being the one to put songs in the hearts of penguins. In the first Happy FeetNoah the Elder believes that the Great 'Guin is punishing the whole species as a result of Mumble being unnaturally different.


  • In order to tell the difference between the male and female emperor penguins, look at their beaks. If it has an orange spot, it's a male. If the spot is pink, it's a female. Also, the golden crest on the "breast" areas correspond to gender differences respectively.
  • The Emperor Penguins made a cameo appearance in the Pat and Stan short "Ball with Penguins".


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