Emperor Penguin Chicks’ First Dive: New Series to Premiere on Earth Day 2025

Baby penguins are born into the harsh environment of Antarctica. The survival of a penguin chick depends on the vigilant care of both parents, who alternate in keeping the young warm and nourished. By the age of 6 months, penguin chicks embark on a bold journey—their inaugural swim. A team of National Geographic videographers, headed by Bertie Gregory, documented an exciting scene of baby penguins making their first dive into the icy waters.

"Since 2009, satellites have captured data showing some head towards steep ice cliffs. What unfolds next has been a puzzle," the video narrates. Typically, penguin chicks jump about 2 feet for their first swim, but a specific group observed in January 2024 faced a daunting 50-foot drop from an ice cliff.

The video captures a multitude of penguins, estimated at around 700, marching towards the cliff's brink. As they gaze out over the ocean, they appear to evaluate the landscape and hesitate before their next action. Suddenly, one courageous penguin dives into the water with the precision of an Olympic diver. After a moment of tension, the adventurous chick is seen joyfully paddling in the cold waters. More penguins begin to follow its lead, and the chaos ensues. The inquisitive penguins, peering over the cliff, inevitably tumble comically into the water. Some inadvertently slip off the edge, while others jump willingly. During their descent, they flap their wings in a panic, culminating in an endearing belly flop.

This extraordinary footage of a previously unobserved penguin dive is part of an upcoming TV show, "Secrets of the Penguins," set to debut on Earth Day 2025. To keep up with National Geographic, be sure to visit their website.

A group of National Geographic videographers, led by Bertie Gregory, traveled to Antarctica to follow Emperor penguin chicks on an exhilarating adventure.