Rico is the head of demolition and storage for the Penguins. He has feathers resembling a Mohawk on his head and a scar across the left side of his beak, but it is unknown how he got it, since he didn't have it in the first three Madagascar movies. It is shown in A Christmas Caper, which (presumably) took place before the movies, but does not appear in the movies at all.
Rico holds a variety of items in his gut, which is a virtual 'hammerspace' as many of those items are bigger than him. While inside his digestive system, Mort finds a spiral staircase and an elevator. In "The Big S.T.A.N.K.," he choked up an air-to-ground missile and launching platform. In "The Red Squirrel," it was a ringing payphone.
Unlike the other Penguins, Rico usually makes grunting noises rather than speaking actual words (though his speech has improved steadily since Season 2). Rico also cries very much like an infant (as seen on "Smotherly Love," "What Goes Around," and more).
Rico isn't too bright- while he never performs actual actions of stupidity, he is much more comfortable taking orders and being the muscle of the team, often used as a threat by Skipper in interrogations. According to Skipper, he has never disobeyed an order, not even the time he told him to suck the cobra venom out of his left buttock. He has a psychotic love for violence and destruction, looking on to such scenes- whether programs or real life- with a vacant expression of amusement. He enjoyed a nature documentary which had penguins being eaten by Orcas and Leopard seals and ate popcorn while the others had to vomit into paper bags. He also thinks about fish a lot.
Generally referred to by Skipper as a world-class psychopath, Rico has an appetite for destruction that has an unfortunate tendency to cause as much trouble as Kowalski's mad inventions. The Penguins have to keep him tightly reigned in, only using explosives when necessary, or he goes completely wild, as was shown in "Kaboom and Kabust," when he, without the control of the other Penguins, completely destroyed the Lemur Habitat. In ["[Roger Dodger]]," Rogerswitched personalities with Rico and we see Rico's full capabilities as a 2000 lb alligator. Also, Kowalski once got his personality partially mixed with Rico's in "Sting Operation" and exclaimed how horrible it is, asking Rico how he could stand it, to which Rico just shrugged.
Although Rico is said to have little tolerance for mushy stuff, he displays the full range of emotions, often being the first to break into tears, and after Private could in fact be the second most emotional penguin on the team. He is never given any rank but seems to be classed as higher ranking than Private, but lower ranking than Skipper or Kowalski. As the weapons maintenance and storage guy, it is possible (but unconfirmed) that he holds the approximate rank of one of the many variations of Sergeant.
Rico has also been shown to have many and varied skills. One, being able to hack up anything on command (and also unintended objects). Two, he is able to carve ice, and quite impressively so, as a matter of fact: like in A Christmas Caper, when he carved a Christmas tree; and "Byte-Sized," when he carved a chainsaw. He is also seen as a skilled weapons juggler, as seen in "Roger Dodger."
In "Tagged," he grinned encouragingly when Skipper had to 'groom' him, and even puckered up his beak- Skipper hastily slaps him away. He also showed attraction to Kowalski after Kowalski blasted penguin mating calls at the lemurs in "Operation: Break-Speare" as well as when he raised his 'eyebrows' up and down suggestively at him in The Falcon and the Snow Job of course he could have just been teasing. On the other hand, Rico also has a female doll, Miss Perky, whom he seems to love very much.
In "Herring Impaired," it was shown that Rico considered the title, 'fish craving psycho' to be his 'thing', and he was also shown to be very, gluttonous.
Rico has very minor moments in the movies. In the first movie, he was mentioned when the Penguins attempted to break out of the zoo by snagging a plastic spoon from a little boy. Also, when all the escaped zoo animals were being transferred to Kenya, Rico regurgitated a paper clip in order to help the Penguins get to the bridge so they could redirect the ship to Antarctica. In the second movie, he regurgitates a switchblade. In both movies he is shown without a Mohawk or scar. In the third movie he, as well as the other Penguins, more closely reflected his spin-off personality, and was seen repeatedly filling up a cannon up with dynamite, repeatedly choking up matches.
Penguins of Madagascar Edit
In the episode "All Choked Up," Skipper had Rico keep an activated time bomb in his belly for later, in order to destroy arobotic tour guide. Alice noticed that Rico was constantly regurgitating and forced him to take a special medicine that would prevent him from throwing up. The Penguins scrambled to get the bomb out within the time it was supposed to take to explode, but every attempt, including the horrible event Number 12, and stuffing Mort down Rico's throat, fails. Skippe], Kowalski, and Private say their goodbyes, and their farewells were so heartfelt that Rico began to gag because of the "mushiness." Perhaps in combination with the Number 12 substance and the medicine wearing off, he finally hacked up the bomb (and Mort), and it exploded on the tour guide.
Rico's fortune cookie in the episode "Misfortune Cookie" said "You will soon meet a foul end." While Rico and the other Penguins do not believe in curses as a rule, Julien took it upon himself to make them believe by tricking Rico into believing that he was cursed to the point where Rico hid in a small pillow fortress. Skipper then confronted Julien and they agreed to make Rico think that his curse had been removed by going through with an ancient lemur ceremony. After a duck lands on Rico's face on the way back from the ritual, Private revealed the meaning of the fortune: the duck's bottom is indeed a fowl end.
When all attempts to get Roger to toughen up fail in "Roger Dodger," Kowalski switched his and Rico's minds. Unfortunately, he failed to take into account the warm blood/cold blood differentials in their physiologies, which resulted in Rico's aggression levels increasing greatly, and after he had dealt with the Rats, he went on a rampage all over New York. The Penguins eventually found him, and Roger (in Rico's body) sang a lullaby to pacify him, as he had earlier in the episode. After they had swapped back, Roger helped the Penguins sing another song. Rico can't stand how "lovey-dovey" the song is at first, but soon starts to sing along.
In the episode "Herring Impaired," it is revealed that Rico's obsession for fish could be due to him catching a rare brain disease called Bacterial Pisces Dementia, which can only be cured by refraining (or being restrained) from eating any fish for a whole day after the first symptoms of the infection. (It should be noted that he may have some self control of this, most of the time.) When the other Penguins catch this disease from eating very old herring, Rico must prevent them from eating any fish for the whole day. When he succeeds in doing this, the other Penguins go back to normal and award him a smoked Alaskan salmon for his efforts.
Rico is sometimes the most inconsiderate team-member—e.g. Marble Jarhead—whereas he can also be a very caring and considerate team-player as portrayed in some other episodes.
On Sora's Team Edit