A new penguin documentary airing on BBC is the product of 1,000 hours of footage gathered by 50 different spycams over the course of eight months.
The robot cameras were disguised as chunks of snow, rocks and — best of all — penguins. In fact, some of the fake birds were so realistic that predators attacked them and their eggs were "adopted" by other penguins.
"Penguins: Spy in the Huddle" follows emperor penguins in Antarctica, rockhopper penguins on the Falkland Islands and Humboldt penguins in Peru, so three different species of penguin cams were created.
Producers say the RockhopperCam was particular impressive. The bipedal robot features 20 degrees of freedom of movement and gyro and accelerometer sensors that allow it waddle over rocky terrain and even pick itself up if it falls.
In addition to these penguin cams, the production team also used a fluffy ChickCam and a remote-controlled underwater robot penguin cam capable of diving to depths of 300 feet.
The 50 spycams got up close and personal with penguin species and captured intimate behavior, including some moments that have never been filmed before. Highlights of the documentary include chick-napping by childless females, fights between rival penguins and an Emperor penguin laying an egg.
"Penguins: Spy in the Huddle" began airing in the U.K. on Feb. 11. Check out the trailer below.
More penguin stories on MNN: