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Emperor Penguin

Aptenodytes forsteri

Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are the largest living penguins. They are a truly Antarctic species with a circumpolar distribution. Emperor penguins breed throughout the Antarctic winter.  Females lay a single egg in May/June that is incubated solely by the males, but parents share the chick rearing duties. The chicks fledge in December/January and travel thousands of kilometres in their first year at sea. Post-breeding, adults undergo their annual moult. The global population is currently estimated to comprise in the order of 500,000 birds. Due to the effects of climate change that are altering sea ice extent and duration, the species is expected to lose much of its breeding habitat and suffer an increasingly rapid decrease of its population. For these reason, the species is listed as Near Threatened (IUCN Red List 2020).



For more information on erect-crested penguin natural history visit the Global Penguin Society at  


For more information on Erect-crested penguin conservation status visit the IUCN Red List page at

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