>I just have a quick question on penguins. I have learned that when >the
>eggs are laid, the father stays at the nest while the mother goes >to the
>sea for food. The mother, I have heard, stays at sea for a >couple months.
> Here is my question: What happens if the mother dies >while she is at
>sea? Does the father stay at the nest or does he >eventually abandon it?
Thank you for your question. Although this is Whalenet, not Penguinnet, and
penguins are not my area of expertise, I will endeavour to provide you with
After discussing this matter with my collegues here at the university, we
feel that it is likely that the male Emperor penguin (I presume this is the
species you are referring too) will abandon the egg at some point if the
female does not return after 2 month period she usually remains at sea. We
came to this decision by reference to the behaviour of other birds, but as I
said, we are a marine mammal laboratory, and do not really work with birds.
I suggest you have a look at the Australian Antarctic Division website which
has a great section on Emperor Penguins. They may be able to answer your
question with more confidence.
You can find their Emperor Penguins at:
School of Biological Sciences
Thomas Building, L2
University of Auckland.
Private Bag 92019
Ph: 64-9-373-7599 x4588
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