King Penguins.

King Penguins.

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Earth Science. Christian.

King Penguins.

Copyright (C) by Noelene Rout 26th August 2007

All rights reserved.


Penguins are birds. Penguins are birds with flippers instead of wings. God created penguins. Genesis 1:21 Penguins cannot fly. They use their flippers to help them swim through water, and with their beaks as weapons to defend their own space, along with their feet, they use them to push and steady themselves when tobogganing on their bellies upon ice and snow. The penguins feet are clawed and webbed, they use their feet as rudders and brakes when swimming through the sea, and when they are itchy they scratch themselves with their claws. There are 17 varieties of penguins, one of which is, the King Penguin.

King penguins live in colonies along the coasts of a string of small rocky islands in the Antarctic sea.
They have grey backs and white bellies; black heads, and distinctive orange and yellow markings upon their chests and on the sides of their heads. From above, the grey back of a king penguin helps it to blend into the water, while from below their white bellies blend in with the bright sunlit surface of the sea. The beak of the king penguin is long and curved downwards.

King penguins leave the sea and come to the land to breed in summer. Sometimes sharing the coasts with massive elephant seals who come to the shores to breed and moult. King penguins waddle up and down the coastline looking for mates. Throwing their flippers back and holding their heads up high, the penguins sing and bow to one another. Every penguin sings a different song and each penguin recognizes its mate by the sound of its song.

Nests, eggs, and incubation.
King penguins do not build nests they lay their eggs on flat bare, or slightly sloping ground at an equal distance from one another. The king penguin lays one large pear shaped egg, which she incubates (keeps warm) by sitting it upon her feet beneath a fold of skin at the bottom of her stomache. A few hours after she has laid the egg the male king penguin bows and clicks to the female and he takes the egg upon his feet and places it beneath the fold of skin at the bottom of his stomache, where he will keep it warm while the female goes to sea for two or three weeks to eat. The king penguin loses a lot of weight and when his mate returns she bows and clicks and takes the egg upon her feet and he goes off to sea. Abandoned king penguin eggs are eaten by great skua birds and giant petrels. Giant petrel birds kill and eat king penguin chicks.

During the month of January little penguin chicks start pecking inside of their eggs, it takes a penguin chick a couple of days to get out of the egg. The penguin, kept warm in its mother's brood pouch, is born without feathers, but within a few days a thin layer of grey fluff grows over its little body. By the time the chick is about three weeks old it has grown a little chocolate coloured feathered coat to keep it warm.

King penguin chicks are not able to feed themselves, they rely on their parents who call to them with singing when travelling back to the colony with food in their crops for the chicks. Partly digested food is regurgitated, and fed to the chicks from their parents beaks. Little chicks poke their heads into their parents beaks to be fed with food.

Penguins fly beneath the sea, kept warm by a layer of fat and feathers which trap air, they dive deeply to catch their food.

Penguin food.
King penguins feed upon krill, small squid, and a variety of fish.

Huddling Chicks.
When king penguin chicks are about four months old both parents leave for the sea, and return to feed their chicks every five or six weeks, huddling together to keep warm in the cold, some of the little fasting chicks die of starvation.

Huddling keeps penguins warm.
During the bitterly cold southern months of winter, king penguins huddle together for warmth, they share heat by moving from the cold outside of the huddle towards the warm center, while warmer penguins from the center move to the outside.

Moulting.
King penguins fast as they moult, their moulting season which starts in September, lasts for about a month, after which time their old feathers have fallen out and have been replaced by a new and smooth plumage. Penguins go without food during periods of moulting because they are unable to fish without their waterproof coats.

King penguin chicks begin to moult in the month of October, losing their chocolate coloured feathered coats the chicks grow, new waterproof adult plumage.

After the breeding season is over and the chicks have grown their adult feathers king penguins return to the sea to fish.

Lifespan.
The average lifespan of a king penguin is between 20 and 25 years.

Glossary.
Colonies.
A place where large groups of penguins breed.

Incubation.
Keeping an egg warm while the chick develops inside.

Predators.
Killer whales, leopard seals, skua birds and petrels, prey upon king penguins.

Regurgitate.
Bring partly digested food from the crop back up into the beak.

any errors within my pages are not intentional.