Researchers using a specially designed robot Rockhopper penguin to study the animals up close in Antarctica, got more than they bargained for when their disguised rover was first approached by a male penguin that wanted to nest with it, causing it to then be attacked by a jealous female penguin.

"The bipedal robot Rockhopper penguin could walk without falling over. He was able to stand up on his own using built-in gyros and pedometers, and he had artificial sensor balance, so if he was pushed off a cliff by another penguin, he could stand up again. He could also automatically lean into the wind," Philip Dalton, a producer with John Downer Productions, told IBTimes UK.

"He could also make the ecstatic display call and other penguins would reply. In one funny sequence, we even had a Rockhopper forming a bond with a robot, it saw it as a rather desirable female and wanted to nest with it.

"It was rather short-lived as the female penguin saw the male penguin flirting with our robot and soon put a stop to it."

The filmmakers collaborated with the researchers in the French Antarctica between 2012-2013 for their award-winning documentary Penguins - Spy In The Huddle, which was broadcast in February 2013 on BBC1.

Credit: Spy in the Huddle/John Downer Productions/BBC