Found in colder regions such as Coldfront and Sawmill, the Soldier Penguin is an extremely rare cousin to the Explosive Soldier Bird that is known to live with other members of its species in large, tight-knit groups. These groups are led by a dominant pair, known as the Alphas. These birds are extremely hard to find and even harder to study; not much is known at the moment, but studies are in the works.
Anatomy and Sexual DimorphismEdit
The females have the same foot pads found on the Explosive Soldier Bird, used for the same purpose of absorbing the explosive force of their rockets. These cushions seem to be thickened in the Soldier Penguin, possibly to insulate their feet when migrating in harsh blizzards.
The Alpha Female's feet are a bit different. Their foot pads have hardened into thick plates that make her much heavier than normal females. The reason behind this is simple; these plates are used for combat and defense. When the Alpha female is being attack, or if her offspring are in danger, she rocket jumps high into the air and dives feet first right onto the threat's head. The height and speed at which she falls determines how much force drives the impact. If done correctly, the impact can crack skulls and sometimes instantly kill! This method of defense seems to have been copied by some humans, through the act of trolldiering, although this may be mere coincidence.
The males are very different from the females. For some reason, they lost the foot pads at one point in their evolution. However, their back seems to hold a large sac-like organ that stores air. This air sac is very important to the males for one reason: courtship. The sac amplifies the male's voice when attracting a mate, or when putting on a threat display against rival males. However, if the sac is ruptured, whether through combat or other causes, the male can no longer use its voice, making him practically useless.
The Alpha male's air-sac is not too different. It simply has a colorful pattern.
The mating season of the Soldier Penguin has no exact date, and can take place at any time of the year, and usually occurs more than once. Before the ritual starts, the males all hunt and fight for power and status. The more hunts a male completes, the better he will appear to females. Once a male gets enough power (his Buff Banner meter is full), he utters a musical mating call that can be heard for miles. The symphony of multiples fills the skies as the males show off.
The females on the other hand, build nests before the ritual, to protect their eggs. The Alpha female's nest is most important, and all the females do whatever it takes to make sure that at least the Alpha's eggs are safe until they hatch. Some females build decoy nests to confuse egg thieves, and will make sure they do not steal the Alpha's eggs.
Once the mating ritual begins, the females take the lead, and pick the strongest male they can find. The stronger the male, the more likely the genes passed down will be superior to competition. Usually, the Alpha male always mates with the Alpha female. However, some cases show that an old Alpha male, now unfit to lead the flock, will sometimes mate with a non-Alpha female, as if he knows he is no longer fit for his job. Mating with a non-Alpha forces him to lose his status as leader, and the male that successfully mates with the Alpha female becomes the new Alpha male. The former Alpha and his mate are then either forced to leave the flock, or are killed where they stand, to prevent inferior genes from being passed down.
Explosive Soldier PenguinEdit
A rare species of Soldier Penguins, produced by cross-breeding Soldier Penguins and Explosive Soldier Birds, is a very odd species. It assumes an unusual position, opposite of spycrabs (crouching and looking down), and the presence of foot pads varies. Males often have a large explosive device made of scrap metal, similar to that of the ESB. Females, however, have a rounder, yellow explosive device incapable of overloading, as well as being nonlethal. ESP's are relatively unaware of their environment, and can only see things very close to them. Because of this, it relies mainly on its superb hearing capabilities. ESP's are known for being freindly to Spycrabs, often protecting migrating herds in peril. Saxton Hale personally enjoys the presence of the TF2imal, citing that he finds them "Majestic... and pretty tasty!" The discovery is often credited to Pokefan548, who is also doing research on Spycrabs, and discovered the Explosive Soldier Penguin as a result.
Explosive Soldier Penguins have a very complicated mating process. Whenever a female is detected (usually by touch.) by two or more male ESP's, then the males have a challenge. The female ESP rocket-jumps away to a high vantage point, and the first to reach the female is the winner. For the overloading process, ESP's may seek the help of a medic wielding the quick fix. If the male succeeds, the medic is welcome into the ESP's nest, and the male is forever in the medic's dept. During mating season, many male ESP's will mistake a normal Soldier for another ESP. If it thinks the soldier is a male, it will attempt to have a rocket- jumping contest with it. No verified reports of an ESP thinking a soldier was female have been reported, however, many reports by people being mistaken as females were cut short by fits of PTSD from the victim.
-Festive Buff Banner
Explosive Solder Penguin Male:
Explosive Soldier Penguin Female: