For those that are interested in the courting and breeding cycles of various wildlife, one should look at the complex cycles of the King Penguins. In a sense, the King Penguins’ courtship and breeding cycles in a sense parallels that of the human breeding cycle in certain social circles. One could consider the King Penguins’ cycle as that of something incredibly fascinating. However, to appreciate the significance of the cycle of the King Penguins, one has to carefully examine their society.
The first thing one has to know about the King Penguins is that they are at the mating and breeding age when they get to three years. After birth, King Penguins will be able to start breeding after three human years. However, it is rare for King Penguins to court, mate, and breed at that age. Most King Penguins start breeding at the age of six years.
However, that is not the only fascinating thing about King Penguins in regards to courtship and breeding. It would seem that, genetically, King Penguins have the sense of serial monogamy with regards to the males of the King Penguins. Serial monogamy is described as a practice of mating in which individuals engage in sequential monogamous relationships. Marriage is by no means a prerequisite for serial monogamy. One could easily confuse this with polygamy.
Polygamy means you have multiple partners at the same time. This is similar to the policy on marriage regarding the males of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS); or, a polygamous relationship in which one has multiple significant others and/or sexual partners. Due to the definition of polygamy, that term can get confused with serial monogamy.
Serial monogamy is described as having one partner at a time. You could have one boyfriend at a time. After breaking up, you go onto the next boyfriend. In marriage, that means being divorced and married many times.
King Penguin males have only one mate a year. Thus, they stay faithful to that mate for an entire year. In a sense, this is similar to having a one-year relationship, break it off at the end of the year, and get with another partner.
The mating cycle, each year, lasts from the start to near the end of fall. This is because they return to their colonies with a prenuptial moult. Unfortunately, not all of the King Penguins are successful. Not all penguins will be successful when it comes to breeding. So far, the breeding cycle is prolonged for the most part. Because of this, the King Penguins have a yearly low birth rate.
When the eggs are laid, the male and female mates take turns incubating the eggs. In layman’s terms, they take turns keeping the eggs warm. This is similar to a mother and father taking turns with a newborn baby when it cries in the middle of the night. The incubation can last for almost sixty days. After the incubation is complete, it could take a half week for the eggs to fully hatch.
In short, the courtship and breeding cycle of the King Penguins can be rather complex to understand. The cycle tends to mirror the acceptance of having many spouses and significant others in human society. This separates King Penguins from other wildlife let alone other penguins.