Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Emperor Penguins Protect Their Young

And we think we’ve got it hard! Emperor penguins breed during the long, Antarctic winter. Once an egg is laid, the female penguin begins a long search for food, which can sometimes take up to 50 miles over a two-month period! The male penguin stays behind to protect the egg, which he keeps on his feet, covered with a feathered flap. He doesn’t eat anything the entire time, and some fathers lose up to 25 pounds. Once the egg hatches, the male feeds the chick a special liquid from his throat. When the mother penguin returns with a belly full of food, she regurgitates to feed her new chick. And the male emperor is relieved of duty, off to find food and some much-needed rest.

One more emperor penguin fact: They can dive up to 1,850 feet — more than any other bird — and stay under water for more than 20 minutes.

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