NT
Emperor Penguin Aptenodytes forsteri



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.htm#.
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Near Threatened A3c
2016 Near Threatened A3c
2012 Near Threatened A3c
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 11,600,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 27,100,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals unknown medium estimated 2009
Population trend Unknown suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 20-29 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 20.4 - - -

Population justification:

A survey of satellite images from 2009 found 46 colonies containing c.238,000 breeding pairs, suggesting a total of c.595,000 individuals (Fretwell et al. 2012). Since then, a further seven colonies have been discovered, bringing the total number to 53 (P. Fretwell pers. com.). The global population estimate has not yet been updated.

Trend justification: An analysis carried out by Ainley et al. (2010) suggests that all colonies north of 67-68°S could be lost when Earth's tropospheric temperature reaches 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with negative impacts on all colonies north of 70°S. In this study, 2042 is the median year (range 2025-2052) at which a 2°C warming is forecast to be exceeded by the four climate models used in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4); these four climate models most closely predicted data collected on environmental conditions in the Southern Ocean over recent decades (Ainley et al. 2010). An ensemble of these models was then used to predict changes in climate and habitat in the Southern Ocean until 2025-2052, namely sea ice extent, persistence, concentration and thickness, wind speeds, precipitation and air temperature. Predictions were then made based on historic responses of the species to past variations in environmental conditions (Ainley et al. 2010). 
According to a survey of satellite images by Fretwell et al. (2012), the global population in 2009 was estimated at c.238,000 breeding pairs, including nine colonies north of 67°S, accounting for c.36,600 pairs. Assuming the loss of these colonies and an exponential population trend, BirdLife International has projected that a decline of c.27% in the number of breeding pairs will occur over the next three generations (61 years). There are substantial uncertainties over future changes in the patterns of weather variables and how these are likely to impact the species, as well as whether there will be a lag in the decline of mature individuals as recruitment falls, or whether this decline will be proportional to the loss of colonies as climatic changes result in the increased mortality of mature individuals. The relocation of A. forsteri colonies will be limited by decreases in sea ice thickness, making it more difficult for them to find stable, long-lasting fast ice for breeding (Ainley et al. 2010). Colonies could conceivably move to any areas of coastline not affected by ridges formed by wind-blown pack ice; however, where this has occurred in the past, it has been regarded as a rare event. Importantly, it has been argued that a simple latitudinal gradient in the loss of sea ice is unlikely, and that warming has so far been regional in the Antarctic (Zwally et al. 2002, Turner et al. 2009, Trathan et al. 2011, Fretwell et al. 2012). With these uncertainties in mind, a precautionary approach is taken, and the population is projected to decline by 20-29% over the next three generations.


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Antarctica N Extant Yes
Argentina V Extant
Chile V Extant
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) V Extant
French Southern Territories V Extant
Heard Island and McDonald Islands (to Australia) V Extant
New Zealand V Extant
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands V Extant

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Antarctica Snow Hill Island
Antarctica Amanda Bay
Antarctica Atka Iceport
Antarctica Auster Rookery
Antarctica Cape Darnley
Antarctica Cape Roget
Antarctica Cape Washington
Antarctica Coulman Island, Ross Sea
Antarctica Dawson-Lambton Glacier
Antarctica Drescher Inlet (Dreschereisfrontkerbe)
Antarctica Franklin Island, Ross Sea
Antarctica Gaussberg, Princess Elizabeth Land
Antarctica Berkner Island northwest (Gould Bay)
Antarctica Brunt Ice Shelf (Halley Bay)
Antarctica Haswell Island
Antarctica Kloa Point
Antarctica Lazarev Island Ice Shelf, Queen Maud Land
Antarctica Peterson Bank, Wilkes Land
Antarctica Pingvin Island, Princess Elizabeth Land
Antarctica Pointe Géologie
Antarctica Riiser-Larsen Peninsula
Antarctica Riiser-Larsen Ice Shelf
Antarctica Shackleton Ice Shelf
Antarctica Stancomb-Wills Glacier
Antarctica Taylor Rookery
Antarctica Smith Peninsula
Antarctica Luitpold Coast
Antarctica Muskegbukta
Antarctica Princess Ragnhild Coast
Antarctica West Ice Shelf
Antarctica Dibble Glacier
Antarctica Mertz Glacier
Antarctica Cape Wadworth, Coulman Island
Antarctica Bernacchi Head, Franklin Island
Antarctica Cape Colbeck
Antarctica Thurston Glacier
Antarctica Hummer Point, Bear Peninsula
Antarctica Brownson Islands
Antarctica Sikorski Glacier, Noville Peninsula
Antarctica Scorseby Head, Smyley Island

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major breeding
Other major breeding
Altitude 0 - 500 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion, Reduced reproductive success
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Aptenodytes forsteri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/05/2020.