|Class: Aves: Birds
1.2 m (4 ft) tall
|Scientific Name: Aptenodytes
||Habitat: ocean and
penguins, largest of the penguin family, endure the worst breeding conditions
of any bird. These penguins never actually come to land but gather in huge
colonies on the pack ice of the antarctic seas. After pairing, the female
lays her 1 egg at the beginning of winter and at once returns to the sea.
Her partner incubates the egg on his feet, where it is protected by a flap
of skin and feathers. All the males in the colony huddle together for warmth
and protection during their vigil in the bitterly cold, totally dark antarctic
winter. As the male cannot leave the egg, he fasts during the 64-day incubation
period. When the chick is born, he feeds it from secretions in his crop,
and the chick remains protected on his feet. By this time the ice is breaking
up, and the female returns to take over while the male recovers and feeds.
Both parents then care for their chick.