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 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 & 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 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 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 control of other penguins, completely destroyed Lemur Habitat. In Roger Dodger, Roger switches personalities with Rico and we see Rico's full capabilities as a 2000lb alligator. Also, Kowalski once got some of his personality messed up with Rico's in Sting Operation, mentioning how horrible it is, and asked 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 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 maintainance and storage guy, it is possible (but unconfirmed) that he holds an approximate rank of the many variations of Sergeant.
Rico has also been shown to have many different skills. One, being able to hack up anything on command (and also things he didn't intend). Two, he is able to carve ice, and quite impressively. Like in A Christmas Caper (Carved a christmas tree), and Byte Sized (Carved a chainsaw). He is also seen as a weapons juggler, as seen in Rodger Dodger.
Rico has numerous moments that suggest an ambiguous sexuality. In Tagged he grins encouragingly when Skipper has to 'groom' him, and even puckers up his beak - Skipper hastily slaps him away. He also shows attraction to Kowalski after Kowalski blasts penguin mating calls at the lemurs in Operation Break-Speare as well when he raised his 'eyebrows' up and down suggestively at him in the Falcon and The Snow Job. On the other hand, Rico also has a female doll, Ms. Perky, which he seems to love very much.
- Rico was one of the the first two playable charcters in The Penguins of Madagascar Universe, the other being King Julien.