Emperor Penguin Habitat
The Antarctic provides an ideal emperor penguin habitat especially the Antarctica continent which they use for their breeding grounds. Of course this penguin species therefore suffers great Antarctica weather that offers the coldest environment on earth.
Emperor Penguins are well suited for this cold environment. Their bodies contain a thick layer of blubber to keep them warm plus their feathers will keep body heat from escaping. The oil in their bodies help keep them dry from water and they also apply tactics to guard them from harsh weather. Huddling is one strategy where they simple all gather together and huddle which creates a large protective bubble of sorts to keep heat around them.
When breeding the emperor penguin habitat can be seen as the Antarctica. They choose the continent wisely as it will provide a lot more safety and protection for their young from predators. Of course they have to make their way towards the heart of the Antarctica which provides a long trek and challenge from the harsh Antarctica weather.
Interestingly once the female lays the egg they leave for the waters leaving their egg balanced on the male’s feet. This is because if the egg where to lay on the ground it would simply freeze over. The females will leave to feed on fish and other food sources to build up supplies to feed the baby penguins once they return. In fact this can take up to a whopping 60 days where the male has to balance the egg on their feet through the coldest climate on earth!
Once they females return job roles are switched around and the males go off to the Antarctic Ocean to feed. This leaves the females to feed and protect the chicks from the cold climate. If a chick that is hatched manages to go onto the ice it will be in risk of freezing and dying also. The baby penguins then stay with their mother for the next month until the male returns and they take turns in looking after the chick.
Roughly 40 days after the chick was hatched they form a crèche which allows both parents to go out and forage for food. All chicks huddle together to keep them warm and with larger colonies increase the chance of chicks surviving with many of them huddled together. Another 2 months later they start to lose their plumage and look like an adult penguin. They are then old enough to start to move towards the Antarctic Oceanand start foraging for themselves.
What Do Emperor Penguins Eat?
Marine food sources are the main sources for the Emperor penguin. The Antarctic provides much small fish like Antarctic silverfish, krill for instance Antarctic Krill and also squid like the Glacial squid.
Seals and Orcas, the killer whales, are the main threats to any penguin. The leopard seals are the main seals that give threat to the penguins although other seal species like the Antarctic fur seal will also attack and kill them. New baby penguins that are fully grown to enter the Antarctic Ocean are prime targets for seals. The seals apply a strategy of sit and wait where the just wait for penguins to enter the ocean.
When on land there is also the threat to their young baby penguins and eggs. Bird species like Skuas or Petrels are the biggest threats they receive from birds. The Southern Giant petrel is amazingly responsible for over 30% of all deaths of baby penguins!
Emperor Penguin Facts
Emperor Penguins are the largest of all penguin species, measuring up to an estimation of 115cm.
The natural emperor penguin habitat is the Antarctic land and its waters and in fact it is rare to see an emperor penguin anywhere else in the world!
They make use of strategies such as huddling that helps them survive the coldest climate on earth.
Eggs that are left on the ice will actually freeze over…so the penguins must balance the eggs on their feet!