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Emperor Penguin Research
Body Structure
Temp. Variations
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   Welcome To Emperor Penguin Research [Reproduction]
    For Emperor Penguins, reproduction occurs in the dead of winter, in the middle of the polar night. With no preparations or nest, Emperor pairs gather together well inland to breed and each lays a single egg. Once the female has laid her egg, she passes it to the male so that she can return to the ocean to feed. The male remains on land and fasts through the winter with the egg, rarely moving in the frigid cold. In addition, the male rolls the egg onto his feet with his bill and protects it with a fold of skin covered with feathers at the base of his abdomen. During this two-month incubation, the male may lose half his body weight because of fasting.

    At hatching, the chick stands about twelve to forteen inches. After a couple of months of feeding, particularly fish, crustaceans (like krill), and squid, the female returns to guard the chick so the male can finally eat. After thirty-five to forty days, both parents can leave the chick, go to sea to feed, and then feed the chick by regurgitating what they have eaten. On a side note, parents are able to identify their young by their chick's distinctive call which can be heard up to a kilometer away.

    Chicks grow slowly at first, yet more rapidly in late spring. Once the young are about seven weeks old, they join other chicks in a crèche, which is protected by a few adults. By midsummer, the Emperor chicks are independent and will be ready to breed in four to eight years. Emperor penguins can live up to twenty years or more, but death among the infant chicks is high, for giant petrels (sea birds) prey upon eggs and chicks.





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