Where do Penguins Migrate?

Penguins are flightless marine birds that are beautiful by nature. When they migrate as a colony, they look more spectacular. Penguins of almost all 17 species migrate to different regions of their habitat from their nest, to survive the needs. The regions depend on the natural preference of the species, and it is also the place where they were born.

Penguins migrate every year which is the behavior followed from the ancestors. Among all the species of penguins, emperor penguins are the remarkable creature that migrates in a huge crowd and marches towards their nesting grounds.

Emperor penguins migrate to their breeding grounds in March. They migrate to nest, breed, and find food availability. They travel between 60 to 100 miles to reach the breeding place.

The breeding sites are mostly the same from the beginning of their birth. At times of any intrusion, penguins change their breeding sites not very far from the usual place but in the vicinity.

The migration starts at the beginning of March and also ends by the end of March where the colonies maintain the same speed of moving and reach at the same time. The way to the breeding ground may vary depending on the obstacle like ice shelves.

Emperor penguin colony

Emperor penguin colony

The female penguins lay eggs in the breeding place and pass the eggs to the male to incubate, while they go for hunting. The fathers take care of the eggs until the females reach the nest — the eggs hatch in August. The males produce a milk-like liquid from their esophagus to support the chicks until the return of their mother.

Once the females are backing home, they are given the responsibility to take care of the offspring while the male goes for hunting. The females store the food in the stomach where they have segments of place to store the required food. They regurgitate the food to the chicks until they reach the age to hunt on their own.

Parents take turns to feed their chicks throughout their growth and most significantly till December. During summer the chicks are trained by their parents and also are left in crèche to learn swimming and hunting.

The chicks spend their life for four or five years and then move back to the breeding grounds while their parents leave them and move to home when the chicks are ready for hunting.

Emperor penguins have no nest as other penguins; the icy land is their entire nest where they take care of the eggs and chicks. The natural adaptation techniques followed by the giant species of penguins in the Antarctic help them survive in the harsh icy atmosphere.

Gentoo penguin colonies

Gentoo penguin colonies


Other penguins apart from Emperor penguins travel similarly with the varying region, travel duration, distance and season. Reason for migration and the approach towards the climate are mostly the same amongst penguins.

The Emperor penguins’ migration is well-known amongst many of the penguin lovers. Since Emperor penguins live only in the Antarctic continent, and they are true Antarctic species of penguins, they can only migrate within the icy Antarctic.

The breeding cycle of Emperor Penguins starts when other Antarctic penguins finish theirs. The breeding site is under few more criteria like; it should be a flat surface to safely handle the chicks while waddling and while keeping the eggs safe while incubating, also the place where there is shelter from the frigid wind like ice cliffs.

While migrating towards the breeding region, the colonies remain safe and do not change the path. The breeding ground differs from species to species where few species breed in tropical areas such as African penguins.


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I got interested in penguins from a young age and as I grew I realized that penguins are such fascinating birds. I made it a mission to create a website where all information about penguins could be accessed in an easy to read format.

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