Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Emperor & King Penguins

Here is the first in a series of profiles on the penguins. Today’s penguins belong to the genus Aptenodytes, and are arguably the most well known and distinctive, the emperor (A. forsteri) and the king (A. patagonicus).

Emperor penguin
Aptenodytes forsteri (Gray, 1844)

Adult emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri)

Distribution: Antarctica (between 66oS & 78oS); vagrant to South Georgia, Heard Island & New Zealand.

Size: 100-130 cm (40-50”); the largest penguin. Males can weigh up to 40 kg (88 lb); females no more than 32 kg (70 lb).

Habitat: restricted to pack-ice of Antarctica, as well as sea-ice, and very occasionally on land.

Diet: nototheniid fish, small cephalopods (squid) and crustaceans (such as amphipods and krill).

Etymology: Aptenodytes = ‘wingless diver’ in Greek; forsteri = after John Reinhold Forster.

Emperor penguin chick (Aptenodytes forsteri)

King penguin
Aptenodytes patagonicus Miller, 1778

Adult king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)

Distribution: most sub-Antarctic islands between 45 and 55oS, Heard and Falkland Islands; formerly bred on Tierra del Fuego; non-breeding range encompasses South Atlantic, South Indian and Southern Oceans.

Size: 85-95 cm (33-37”); the second largest penguin; males weigh up to 17.3 kg (38 lb); females up to 16.2 kg (35 lb).

Habitat: usually water free of pack-ice; breeding on bare ground with gentle slopes and level areas; at Heard Island, several hundred metres from the sea in tussock grass; at Crozet Island, mostly on beaches.

Diet: mostly small myctophiid fish and cephalopods (squid)

Etymology: Aptenodytes = as A. forsteri; patagonicus = from Patagonia (southern South America).

King penguin chick (Aptenodytes patagonicus)

A note about the artwork: I originally drew these in 2006/2007 whilst still doing my undergrad at Anglia Ruskin; the drawings are copied from the penguin monograph by Wayne Lynch.

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