Emperor Penguin Size Comparison: Just How Big and Tall Do They Get?

The tallest and heaviest penguin species in the world is the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri). Continue reading to learn how big they can get and how they stack up against other penguins and other notable birds in the bird kingdom!

Emperor Penguin Size Stats

Emperor penguins are the highest of all living penguin species, reaching heights of 3.7 to 3.8 feet (1.12 to 1.15 meters) as adults. Their weight varies significantly with the season, with males and females losing weight when incubating eggs and raising young, and reaching a maximum of 101.5 lbs. (46 kg). They are still the heaviest penguins alive, nevertheless, even at the lower limit of their range.

Emperor Penguins Compared to King Penguins

The only other member of the Aptenodytes genus and the closest surviving relative of the emperor penguin is the king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus). They are referred to as the “great penguins” collectively. The king penguin, which can reach heights of 3.08 to 3.12 feet (.94 to.95 meters) and weights between 20 and 33 pounds (9 and 15 kg), is the second-tallest and heaviest penguin. But as you can see from the lineup above, the emperor penguin still stands head and shoulders above its nearest rival!

Emperor Penguins Compared to Little Penguins

The aptly titled little penguin (Eudyptula minor) is the tiniest penguin in the world. It weighs between 1.1 and 4.6 lbs. (0.5 and 2.1 kg) and barely reaches a height of 15.8 to 17.7 in. (40 to 45 cm). Thus, the emperor penguin’s height exceeds that of its smallest penguin cousin by a factor of 2.5. Even more astounding is the fact that the emperor weighs about 22 times as much at each of their greatest weights! (In the lineup photo, the “little blue” is visible all the way to the right at the conclusion.)

One of the titans of the bird kingdom are the Emperor penguins!

Not only are emperor penguins the heaviest in the world, but they rank among the biggest birds alive in general. The only animals that weigh more are five of the larger ratites, which include the emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), two cassowaries (Casuarius spp.), and two ostriches (Struthio spp.), as can be seen in the top ten list below.

Emperor penguins are relatively heavier than other birds, even though they are significantly taller than many other birds. Their unique adaptations—solid bones, thick feathers, and a thick layer of insulating fat—are the reason for this. Three more ratites, two of which are rheas (Rhea spp.) and one more cassowary, complete the top 10 list. plus the monarch penguin!