Emperor Penguin Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lisa Hanson

Lisa is a Continuous Improvement Coach for her school district and has taught in elementary school for many years. She has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

Birds that stand four feet tall and look like they are wearing tuxedos, these are the mighty emperor penguins. In this lesson you will learn more about their environment, diet, raising babies, and adaptations.

Emperor Penguin Features

Think about what you would need to survive the brutal weather in Antarctica. Even with the warmest materials, it would still be hard to live. Emperor Penguins can endure this wicked weather every day.

Emperor penguins are the largest of all penguins. An adult penguin can be almost four feet tall and weigh over 80 pounds. That is the height of an average six year old child! Their colors make them look like they are wearing tuxedos. The penguins' heads and tails are black with a blue-grey back. They have white bellies with deep yellow ear patches. They are very distinguished looking birds. The emperor can live between 15-20 years.

Adult emperor penguins can grow to almost four feet tall.
Adult and baby penguins

Habitat and Environment

Emperor penguins are only found in Antarctica and the surrounding icy waters. This is an extremely cold and harsh place to live. The extreme temperature can get to more than 70° below zero, and the blizzard winds can reach 124 mph. You will find penguins on ice cliffs, hills, icebergs, and swimming in the icy waters. You would need a warm fur (I mean feather) coat to survive those winters!

Emperor penguins are only found in Antarctica.
World Map


Emperor penguins are carnivores that feast on fish, squid, and krill. They hunt in open seas and between the openings in the ice. Penguins are expert swimmers and can dive very deep to catch a meal. They sometimes have to swim for miles to find any open water. That is a long time to hold your breath!

Raising Babies

Females lay one egg, and then give it to the male who keeps it warm for nine weeks. He does not sit on it, but keeps it on his feet where a very warm layer of feathered skin called a brood pouch protects it. During this time the male eats nothing while the female goes into the ocean to hunt. She doesn't return until the egg hatches. When the silvery-grey and black baby hatches the mom takes over the feeding while the dad goes to hunt. The baby eats regurgitated, or thrown-up, food from the parents until the ice breaks apart when the waters get warmer. Then the baby is old enough to hunt

Baby emperor penguins hide under their parents brood pouch to stay warm.
Penguin Baby

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