Emperor Penguins!

Emperor penguins are one of two penguin species found in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Check out our slideshow below, celebrating the lives and times of these amazing birds!

Emperor penguins are the largest of the penguin species and can stand up to 1.2 m (4 ft.) tall and can weigh up to 45 kg (100 lbs). Photo by John B. Weller

They rely on cracks in the ice in order to dive, swim, and catch their next meal. Photo by John B. Weller

Emperors are the best avian divers in the world, reaching depths of 600 m (~2,000 ft.), and dive times of up to 20 minutes. Photo by John B. Weller

Some emperor penguin colonies must journey more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) by sea and 160 km (100 mi) by land from the site of their molt to their breeding colonies, where they begin their courtship in early winter on the ice that surrounds Antarctica. Photo by John B. Weller

When a blizzard strikes, for days on end they may endure temperatures below -40ºC (-40ºF), with wind speeds averaging 95 km/h (60 mi/hr) and gusts of up to 200 km/hr (120 mi/hr). Photo by John B. Weller

These harsh conditions don’t deter the emperor penguin, however, as they are the only vertebrates to winter on the continent. Photo by John B. Weller

On this fast ice, facing pairs of emperor penguins croon their ancient song. Unlike Adélies, the emperors breed on the sea-ice itself, laying a single egg in the dead of winter. Photo by John B. Weller

They have no nest, and the males stand upright for the months of Antarctic night, holding the eggs on their feet, protecting the precious packages from the deadly cold. Photo by John B. Weller

After the egg hatches, both parents take turns caring for their young until it is almost fully grown and true feathers begin to replace its soft, down plumage. After the chick’s adult feathers sprout, he is ready to begin exploring the deep waters of his Antarctic home. Photo by John B. Weller

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