Wikipedia:Today's featured article/August 18, 2009

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An emperor penguin

The Emperor Penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. The male and female are similar in plumage and size, reaching 122 cm (48 in) in height and weighing anywhere from 22 to 37 kg (48 to 82 lb). Like all penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine lifestyle. Fish form the bulk of its diet, which can include crustaceans, such as krill, and cephalopods, such as squid. In hunting, the species can remain submerged up to 18 minutes, diving to a depth of 535 m (1,755 ft). It has several adaptations to facilitate this, including an unusually structured haemoglobin to allow it to function at low oxygen levels, solid bones to reduce barotrauma, and the ability to reduce its metabolism and shut down non-essential organ functions. The Emperor Penguin is perhaps best known for the sequence of journeys adults make each year in order to mate and to feed their offspring. The only penguin species that breeds during the Antarctic winter, it treks 50–120 km (31–75 mi) over the ice to breeding colonies which may include thousands of individuals. The lifespan is typically 20 years in the wild, although observations suggest that some individuals may live to 50 years of age. (more...)

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