Penguin

SPECIES: Eudyptula minor

The smallest of all penguin species, the Little Penguin is an adorable bird, standing at 40-45cm tall and weighing up to 1kg. Their head, neck, back, rump and tail feathers are a glossy dark-blue, and the chin, throat, chest and abdomen are white. The flippers are dark-blue on top and white underneath with a grey ‘smudging’ at the tips, and the beak is leaden-black.

Diet

Little Penguins will dive an average of 5-20m to find food. They most commonly feed on pilchards, anchovies, red cod, barracouta and squid.

Social organisation and Reproduction

Little Penguins live in colonies that can have hundreds of members ashore at one time. From June-August, males will come ashore and renovate old burrows or dig new ones. They will perform loud courting displays for arriving females, who will join them in a courtship display in which both birds will stand erect with their flippers spread out and heads bowed, walking in tight circles around the nesting site. Once a pair has formed and mated, 2 eggs will be laid in the burrow. Both males and females will incubate the eggs, with the non-incubating partner hunting for food. Chicks hatch after an incubation period of 33-37 days. By 3 weeks of age, chicks are old enough to remain in the burrow by themself, being fed regurgitated fish from their parents. At 7-11 weeks of age, chicks develop their waterproof feathers and begin learning to swim.

Did you know?

  • Derivation: eudyptula= little diver; minor= smaller.
  • Little Penguins only cross the beach at sunset, to avoid predators.
  • Little Penguins have a gland at the base of their tail which produces a water-proofing oil for their feathers.
  • The colony of Little Penguins in Manly, New South Wales is listed as Endangered.

Why are they endangered?

  • Habitat destruction and vegetation removal
  • Feral animal predation
  • Human interference with nest sites
  • Pollution
ANIMAL FACTS

Penguin

GROUP NAME

Rookery, colony or huddle

Native To

SIZE

40-45cm tall and weighing up to 1kg

BABY NAME

Nestling or Chick

Habitat

On land, Little Penguins inhabit rocky coastal areas and islands with vegetated sand dunes and crevices in cliff-bases. In water, Little Penguins inhabit warm seas ranging from 13-20°C.

Did You Know?

The deepest recorded dive by a Little Penguin is 72m.

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