Royal PenguinPhotos, Pictures, Prints

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Noble Birds of the Sea

Majestic and iconic, these penguins inhabit the waters surrounding Antarctica. Though they look very much like macaroni penguins, the royal boasts a white face and chin instead of the macaronis’ black visage.

At 26-30 in (65–76 cm) long and weighing 6-18 lb, males are larger than females. This species breeds only on Macquarie Island in the Subantarctic, though they, like other penguins, spend much of their time at sea.

Of all penguins, the royal is most famous for its parenting skills. It’s one of the few species where males and females share the burden of child-rearing equally.

Once the female lays an egg, both parents work together to keep the egg, and then the offspring warm. In order for the egg to hatch, the parents must keep it warm for 35 days. They accomplish this by rotating in 12-day shifts.

After hatching, however, the male watches and warms the chick for 10 to 20 days while the female brings food for them both. Around day 20, the chick will form a home for warmth and safety. Then, the parents continue to feed it two to three times a day. Finally, when the chick is about 65 days old, it will have its adult feathers and can go on its own.

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