Do Penguins Mate for Life | Penguins Mating Behavior

Penguins (Sphenisciformes) are monogamous means once they choose their partner they are not going to change it unless the partner dies. This clearly answers the question do penguins mate for life, continue reading to know more about their mating behavior. King and emperor penguins lay only one egg while the remaining species lays eggs in a clutch.

Do Penguins Mate for Life

Penguins form large breeding pairs but they do not often change their partners. Both male and female contributes to incubating eggs whereas in case of emperor penguins the male does most of the incubation.

Humboldt penguins are not always monogamous as chances are that they take another mate after a year.

The bond between mates is so strong that they recognize each other even in the company of thousands of birds.

A male penguin chooses a nest site and at the same time shows a blissful display. In this display the male will stand straight to put its bill pointed upward and wave his flippers. This is a typical way to call a partner to mate. If a female is interested she is going to bow and the bond is paired. The bowing display continues even after mating. The display is unique to each bird which is why the adult birds are able to recognize each other by this behavior and also by voices.

Large Colony Photo Credit:
Large Colony
Photo Credit:

Penguins that are known to form large colonies are more likely to put on elegant ecstatic display. Prominent among species is a king penguins which are observed responding to their mate’s calls only. King penguins never bother to hear their neighbor’s call.

The emperor penguins are known wait for an ideal weather to copulate. They are likely to mate in between April 10 and June 6. When the time is right then both male and female separate themselves from large gatherings. They face one another and stay still for some time. The male puts his head down and expects the female to do the same. The male then touches the female’s pouch. The female will drop her head down on the ice and spread her legs and wings. The male mounts her from the back and mating continues for about 10 to 30 seconds.

The young penguins also identify their parents by voices.

The courting pairs often involves in mutual preening.

The incubation can be as long as several weeks because one of the parents must go to the sea to gather food for chicks.

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