Emperor Penguins (aptenodytes forsten) are one of the more intellectually developed species of birds. This is evident in their individual and social behaviours. This combined with their inability to fly and living in the Antarctic means they have a fairly unique behavioural pattern.
Firstly, Emperor Penguins preen their feathers. This is a common behavioural activity for them and other penguins. Preening is when emperor penguins secrete a preening oil from a gland near the penguin’s tails. This process is multi-purposed, it keeps the feathers in good condition, which helps them to maintain body heat, waterproof the feathers, and clean the feathers at the same time. This act is a great example of the higher levels of complicity in the behaviours of emperor penguins compared to the simple behaviour of woodlice. Whilst woodlice tend to directly respond to stimuli, for example they have positive hydrotaxis. This is a directional response, meaning that the woodlice will head to towards areas of high humidity, this is a useful survival technique given that their ideal conditions are in humidity. This taxi is completely different to preening as preening isn’t a directional response towards a stimulus but instead an act with longer term benefits. However, it could be argued that preening is not very different to a response to the stimulus of the cold.
Secondly, when incubating eggs and raising their young a pair of parent emperor penguins will alternate between going out and hunting and incubating the egg or chick, and protecting them from predators. This is another example of the increased complexity in the behaviour of Emperor Penguins compared to woodlice. This is evident as the parent incubating the chick or egg won’t...