How to Tell a Girl or a Boy Emperor Penguin Apart

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Since male and female emperor penguins look pretty much alike, you'll have to watch their behavior in order to determine their gender. If a trip to their native Antarctica is out of your budget or not your idea of a vacation paradise, you'll have to make your observations at a zoo hosting these fascinating birds.

Sex Ratios

Female emperor penguins outnumber their male counterparts, with the typical breeding colony consisting of 40 percent males and 60 percent females. If you want to guess a penguin's gender, put your money on the ladies. Because of this imbalance, males don't have to work hard to attract females, as is common in other bird species. To attract a mate, he stands still and rests his head on his chest. He breathes in and give a courtship call, then stands still for a few more seconds.

Penguin Parenting

While the female lays the egg, it's the male who actually incubates it. After giving the egg to her mate, the female heads off to the colony's foraging area until the hatchling arrives roughly two months later.

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Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.