There are several species of penguins. The largest of all species is the Emperor Penguin, reaching a measure in adulthood of 3.7 ft. (1.1 m) and weighing in about 74 lbs on average (35 kg). Males can easily weight 84 lbs at the beginning of breeding season but its weight will drastically decline over the season to about 51 lbs. This is because during the time he is incubating the egg, he does not eat anything. The female lays a single egg and leaves out to sea to feed, the egg is then incubated by the male while the female is gone. Afte the chick is hatched, the Emperor Penguin parents subsequently take turns at sea alternating with caring for their chick in the colony.
(A colony of Emperor Penguins. Published with permission under license.)
While hunting, an Emperor Penguin can remain submerged underwater for up to 18 minutes. These exceptional creatures are astonishingly agile, and can even reach diving depths of incredibly 1,870 ft. (565 m) with a speed recorded of up to 17 mph (27 km/h). The lifespan of an Emperor Penguin is typically 20 years in the wild, although observations suggest that some individuals may live to 50 years of age.
Penguins make up a group of aquatic birds that do not fly. In general, penguins belong to the southern hemisphere, and their home is Antarctica. Having adapted well to life in water, what had once been feathers are now fins. Interestingly, these elegant, flightless birds live half the time in the water, and half on land.