PenguinSpirit

Little Penguin ﹣Also called: Little Blue Penguin, Fairy Penguin, Australian Little Penguin
Smallest of all penguin species

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Size

Height: 41 to 45 cm (16 to 18 inches) for average adult.

Weight: 0.5 to 2 kg (1 to 1.5 lbs) for average adult.

Description

  • Back, flippers and top of head dark blue.
  • White chest, chin and underside of flippers with white on edges of flippers.
  • Gray eyes.
  • Patches of bare skin on their face that radiate excess heat to keep them cool.
  • Black bill. The male’s bill is thicker and longer than the female’s.
  • Juveniles covered with gray-brown down.

Feet

  • Pinkish.

Food

  • Krill and cephalopods.
  • Opportunistic, takes advantage of the most abundant prey but not more than 50 mm (2 inches) in length.

Rookeries

  • Breeds in burrows where digging is possible or under bushes.
  • The nest/burrow consists of a nesting chamber located above a tunnel usually approximately 60 to 80 cm (24 to 32 inches) deep.

Breading

  • Males secure a nesting burrow, stand at the entrance trying to attract a mate through a series of vocalizations and displays. Sometimes males gather together on a rocky site in “calling clubs” in non-breeding areas to find a partner.
  • The females lay 2 white eggs and both parents take turns incubating the clutch in the leaf lined burrow.
  • Chicks stay in the burrow for approximately 2 months and are fed daily by one parent. When the chicks are able to regulate their body temperature with a layer of down both parents will leave the burrow to fish.
  • Soon the chicks wait for their parents at dusk outside the burrow calling to their parents with a peeping or hissing sound.

Predators

  • Sea lions, sharks and barracudas at sea.
  • Lizards, snakes, skuas, gulls and sea eagles prey upon eggs and chicks.
  • Dogs, cats, weasels, ferrets, rats, and other animals that were introduced attack adult penguins, destroy nests and feed on the eggs and chicks.

Interesting Facts

  • Colonies are along the southern and eastern coasts of Australia, on the shores of New Zealand, Tasmania and Chatham Islands.

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