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Summer ended in Antarctica, and the first penguins stretched out of the water to nesting sites. By the beginning of this long and difficult period in the life of flightless seabirds, World Penguin Day is celebrated on April 25th.
King penguins, like all penguin representatives, live in the sea of the Southern Hemisphere, closer to Antarctica.
They nest on islands such as South Georgia, Tierra del Fuego, South Sandwich, Crozet, and a number of others, in close proximity to seals, elephants, albatrosses and another 30 species of seabirds.
The king penguin is similar to the imperial penguin, the largest in the world, but differs in brighter color and slightly smaller size - its body length barely reaches 1 m and its weight does not exceed 17 kg.
Penguin ancestors who lived in a temperate climate, when Antarctica was not yet an ice-covered mainland, were the size of humas and could reach a weight of 120 kg.
During the nesting period, the male walks around the colony, showing orange spots on his head, indicating his puberty, and screams loudly, raising his beak to the sky.
An interested female approaches the male, the mating dance and hugs begin ...
In the middle of winter, the female lays one egg and covers it with a fold on her belly. A little later, a male is joining to the nestling hatchery.
King penguin chicks are brown in color. Only those who hatch from eggs laid from November to December survive.
The rest do not have time to grow before winter and die. The next year, parents left without offspring begin to lay their eggs earlier, and those who have already raised chicks nest later, taking a break.
On land, birds walk slowly, flipping from side to side, which saves a lot of energy.
In water, they develop a speed of more than 10 km / h, especially when they swim like dolphins, periodically jumping out of the water. Going to land, they can overcome almost two meters in a jump.
King penguins nest mainly on rocks, in places easily accessible to humans.
The measures taken to protect birds allowed for a century to restore the global population. There are currently about a million pairs of king penguins on earth.