Visit Emperor Penguin Colony

White Desert Antarctica

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Emperor Penguins are the only species of penguin that breed in Antarctica. A spectacle full of noise and energy, a favorite with wildlife watchers and photographers.

The colony at Atka Bay is at its height in the months of November and December, during which you can see over 28,000 Emperor Penguins and their newly hatched chicks there.

Once the egg is laid, it is passed to the male who carefully balances it on his feet. He will lose 50% of his body weight over the long and dark winter months. The males have learned to form huddles for warmth to survive, while the females will head to the sea to hunt and feed for 8 weeks. She returns to find her mate in a group of thousands, identifying him by a unique call. After the chicks hatch, they remain on their parents' feet for 2 months until November. In early December, the chicks begin losing their fluffy feathers, replaced by sleek feathers. As the sea ice breaks apart in late January, the penguins make their way to the sea.

In such a harsh environment, only 20% of chicks survive, making it even more special to be able to experience them. There are very few visitors to this colony, which is why the chicks are unafraid of humans and often waddle close by. Mindful of our responsibility to the wildlife and following IAATO guidelines, visitors need to keep at least 5m from the penguins.

Visiting Emperor Penguins is just one of many adventures awaiting you when booking White Desert Antarctica lodges and tours with us. Contact us if you would like to find out more about what this land of eternal ice has to offer.


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White Desert Antarctica

Antarctica Antarctica

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