The British Antarctic Territory has announced the release of a beautiful new Airmail Postcard Rate stamp featuring an Emperor penguin chick. This new addition to the 2018 Penguins and Chicks Definitive issue has been released to replenish stocks of the existing 2016 postcard rate coil stamps, which will shortly be exhausted.
Wild Emperor penguins are only found in Antarctica. They mostly breed and raise their young on floating platforms of frozen ocean which are connected to the land or to ice shelves. From birth, they spend their entire lives in and around the Antarctic ice.
Emperor penguins are the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species, and are the only penguins that breed during the Antarctic winter. After a courtship of several weeks, a female emperor penguin lays one single egg and then leaves! The father balances the egg on his feet and covers it with his brood pouch, a very warm layer of feathered skin designed to keep the egg warm. The males stand like this for about 65 days, through icy temperatures, cruel winds, and blinding storms. Finally, the females return from the sea, bringing food which they regurgitate to feed the now hatched chicks. The mothers then take over the care of the chicks and the males eagerly head back to the sea for food.
The Emperor penguin chicks are born completely covered with grey plumage. As they grow this is lost and they develop their familiar and mostly black and white adult plumage.