Size Keeps Emperor Penguin Warm
The emperor penguin breeds in the cold Antarctic winter, so the bird must be able to tolerate the brutally low temperatures.
Temperatures can be as low as -60 °C, food is scarce, and it is always dark. In spite of the tough conditions, emperor penguins breed in the freezing Antarctic winter – which requires a special ability to keep warm.
An emperor penguin weighs up to 40 kg, and the size reduces the heat loss. Penguin surfaces are relatively small compared to their volumes, and so, less heat escapes the bodies. Positioned in layers, individual surface feathers are small and scale-like, so extremely high winds are required to lift them and introduce cold air.
The thick layer of blubber that the penguins accumulate over the summer, insulates and functions as an energy store that the birds can eat into during the cold months.