Emperor Penguin

Did you know?

Penguin species of the Antarctic regions tend to be larger and rounder than those of the more temperate regions, as bulkier bodies retain heat more efficently than slimmer bodies.

The call of the Emperor Penguin is described as a rhythmic and powerful buzzing chatter "a-a-a-a-a-…"
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
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Maximum Size: 
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Average weight: 
34 000g
Breeding season: 
March to December
Clutch Size: 
67 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Emperor Penguin is the largest of the penguins and is a robust bird with a black head and large yellow-white patches on the sides of its neck. It has a dark brown iris, and is distinguishable by a pink stripe on its lower mandible. Male and female Emperor Penguins are similar in appearance, and juvenile penguins are similar to the adults, but duller.

Similar species: 

The more brightly coloured King Penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus, is the only species with which the Emperor Penguin may be confused. The ranges of these species may overlap off the southern tip of South America.

Where does it live?

Distribution of the Emperor Penguin is within the limits of the pack-ice within the Antarctic Zone. There are no confirmed records of the Emperor Penguin from Australia, however it is known to be an accidental visitor to New Zealand and South America.


The Emperor Penguin is a marine species, found in the pack-ice of the Antarctic Zone.

Seasonal movements: 

The Emperor Penguin is considered to be dispersive, although not much is known about the movements of this species.

What does it do?

The diet of the Emperor Penguin varies with locality. The Emperor Penguin is known to feed on nototheniid fish, euphausiid crustaceans (krill) and small cephalopods (squid, octopus).


The Emperor Penguin breeds during winter in colonies which are usually formed on sea-ice. This species is seasonally monogamous, and pair-bonds are maintained from formation in March until feeding of the chick finishes in December. The Emperor Penguin uses no nest or materials, the egg being held and incubated on the adults' feet. Incubation is by the male Emperor Penguin alone, and both parents brood and feed the young.

Living with us

The distribution of the Emperor Penguin, being within the pack-ice of the Antarctic Zone, currently allows little opportunity for human interaction with this species. However, it leaves them particularly vulnerable to human-induced climate change.

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