Incredible Footage of Emperor Penguin Chicks Jumping Off a 50 Foot Cliff in Antarctica Into the Water Below

Award-winning nature photographer Bertie Gregory used his drone to capture incredible, never-before-seen footage of a giant crèche of emperor penguin chicks collectively waddling to the edge of a giant 50 foot cliff in Antarctica and diving off into the Southern Ocean below, perhaps in search of food. Gregory described witnessing this unusual natural phenomenon.

We’d seen multiple groups of chicks walking out in this direction, but due to the undulating icy terrain and a dangerous crevasse field, we were unable to follow them on snowmobile or on foot. It wasn’t until I launched a drone that I was able to keep them in view  ….As soon as I realized they were going near to the edge, I used the drone’s powerful zoom lens to maintain a very large distance from downwind.

Only a few brave chicks made the leap at first but being that they were all raised together, the rest soon followed after a bit of time.

After several batteries and a couple of hours waiting, I watched a single chick walk up to the edge and launch itself off. Once the first had jumped and landed unscathed in the freezing Southern Ocean, many soon followed, and I was able to nudge in close enough to capture the scene.

This footage was shot for the Nat Geo Wild series Secrets Of The Penguins.

For the first time, experts have filmed emperor penguin chicks leaping 50 feet off an Antarctic cliff. The incredible footage will appear in the series “Secrets of the Penguins,” which will debut on Earth Day 2025 on National Geographic and Disney+.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.