While filming for the BBC’s wildlife series ‘Dynasties,’ David Attenborough’s team came upon an incredible sight – ‘the rarest penguin on Earth.’ The film-makers were in Antartica when captured on camera a completely black emperor penguin.
The extremely rare creature “could be the first-ever footage of an all black emperor penguin.” Its incredible looking is due to a rare condition called melanism. Unlikely the albinism, who’s a lack of skin pigmentation, the melanism occurs because of the skin’s black pigmentation. Even melanism can be frequently spotted at animals, this is the first time when the condition occurs on an emperor penguin. Evidence of melanism has been previously spotted on king penguins and royal penguins, but only a few isolated cases.
While albino or melanistic creatures are usually rejected by their groups, this unique penguin has been spotted alongside its colony and it doesn’t seemed to be rejected by them, despite its completely black feathers. Even the producers team note “he or she could be the only one of its kind.” On the other hand the penguin’s unique coloring could make it extremely vulnerable in front of the predators. Penguins usually have their bellies covered in white feathers and that’s meant to offer them the best camouflage in front of the killer whales or the leopard seals.
The emperor penguin is knows as the largest penguins species. They could easily reach heights up to four feet and could weight up to 100 pounds. They’re easy to recognize due to their yellow patches right on their neck. Watch the rarest penguin in the world, here: