Reproduction: The Largest penguin, The Emperor breeds during the perpetual darkness of the Antarctic winter. In April and May the Emperor penguins gather at rookeries and begin courting, displaying to each other their orange ear patches. They do not build nests or defend territories. The female emperor penguin lays a single egg which is carried on the feet and covered with a fold of skin. At first the male and female share in the incubation of the egg, but after a few days the female leaves the male in charge and waddle off across the ice to feed in open waters. It is quite common to see two adults keeping company, while the other partner is feeding at sea. The chicks poking their heads out will be 5 – 6 weeks old. At 6 – 9 weeks the chicks are allowed to run free, but are very vulnerable to the adverse climatic conditions, and high mortalities due to exposure and starvation occur during prolonged blizzards.