In what looks to be the world's largest day care facility, thousands upon thousands of King Penguins group their offspring together into giant huddles to stop them from dying in the sub-zero temperatures of South Georgia. They are also better protected from predators in this huge gathering. Chicks with their long, brown, downy coats are made to crowd together to retain their body warmth in groups visible as brown swathes on this spectacular photo below.
Photograph: Andy Rouse/Rex Features
The chicks, which take between 10 to 13 months to raise, cannot regulate their body temperature and the parents care for them round the clock for the first three weeks. They then put the chicks in one of the creches, returning every two or three days with food. The picture was taken at the shoreline of South Georgia, a British territory close to the Falklands. It is one of the main breeding colonies for the birds. A full penguin breeding cycle lasts more than a year and pairs generally breed twice every three years.
The King Penguin is the second largest species of penguin, weighing up to 35lbs. The Emperor penguins are the largest. They eat small fish - mainly lanternfish, and squid and repeatedly dive to more than 100 metres to find lunch. There are an estimated 2.23million pairs of King Penguins with numbers increasing.
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