IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


29th January, 2024 Environment


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  • Four new emperor penguin colonies have been identified in Antarctica from satellite imagery.

Emperor Penguin

Taxonomy and Classification:

  • Scientific Name: Aptenodytes forsteri
  • Family: Spheniscidae (Penguins)

Physical Characteristics:

  • Size: Largest of all penguin species, standing around 1.15 meters (3.8 feet) tall.
  • Weight: Adults can weigh between 22 to 45 kilograms (49 to 99 pounds).
  • Coloration: Distinctive black and white plumage with a yellowish-gold patch on their chest.
  • Adaptations: Streamlined bodies, flipper-like wings for swimming, and a layer of blubber for insulation.


  • Habitat: Native to Antarctica, specifically the coastal areas and surrounding ice shelves.
  • Breeding Grounds: Emperor penguins are known for their unique breeding habits and are often found on sea ice during the breeding season.

Reproduction and Breeding:

  • Breeding Cycle: Emperor penguins have a complex breeding cycle, involving the formation of large colonies, courtship rituals, and cooperative parenting.
  • Nesting: Females lay a single egg, which is then incubated by the males in a coordinated manner, balancing it on their feet and keeping it warm using a brood pouch.

Life Cycle:

  • Chick Rearing: Both parents contribute to chick rearing, taking turns to protect and feed the chicks until they are ready to fend for themselves.
  • Fledging: Emperor penguin chicks fledge and enter the water for the first time when they are about 50 to 60 days old.

Adaptations to Extreme Conditions:

  • Cold Tolerance: Specially adapted to withstand extremely cold temperatures in Antarctica.
  • Thermoregulation: Huddle together in large groups to conserve heat during severe cold.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Status:

  • Threats: Climate change, loss of sea ice, and disturbances to their breeding grounds pose significant threats to Emperor penguin populations.


Q. Consider the following statements regarding the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri):

  1. Emperor Penguins are the smallest among all penguin species.
  2. Their breeding cycle involves females incubating the eggs while males provide food for the chicks.
  3. Emperor Penguins are primarily found in the Arctic region.

Which of the statements above is/are correct?

A) Only 1

B) 2 and 3

C) Only 3

D) 2 only

Answer: D) 2 only

Explanation: Statement 1 is incorrect as Emperor Penguins are the largest among all penguin species. Statement 3 is incorrect as Emperor Penguins are primarily found in Antarctica, not the Arctic region. Statement 2 is correct as their breeding cycle involves females laying eggs, which are then incubated by males, who also provide food for the chicks.