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King Penguin

A king penguin at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland.King penguin swimming under water.king penguin chick. South GeorgiaKing Penguins and Southern Elephant Seal at South Georgia IslandKing Penguin parent and a chick at South Georgia Island
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King Penguin Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
Aptenodytes Patagonicus
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
Size (H):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
60cm - 90cm (24in - 35in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
11kg - 16kg (24lbs - 35lbs)
How long the animal lives for
15 - 20 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Least Concern
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Black, White, Grey, Yellow
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Rocky Antarctic Islands
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Krill, Fish, Shrimp
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Leopard Seal, Killer Whale, Sharks
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Large body size with yellow markings on head

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King Penguin Location

Map of King Penguin Locations

King Penguin

The king penguin is the second largest species of penguin in the world, with adult king penguins growing to nearly a metre in height. There are two recognised sub-species of the king penguin found throughout the sub-Antarctic, with more than 2 million breeding pairs thought to be dotted across the rocky islands (a number which appears to be increasing).

The king penguin is found inhabiting the rocky islands in parts of the Antarctic Ocean, with the geographical location being one of the main differences between the two king penguin sub-species. King Penguins breed on the sub-Antarctic islands, at the northern reaches of Antarctica, as well as around the Falkland Islands, and other temperate islands of the region.

The king penguin is one of the most elegant of all penguin species as it's long and slender body helps the king penguin to glide through the water with great ease. The bright-yellow markings on the head and neck of the king penguin are characteristic of this penguin species.

King penguins have adapted well to the extreme living conditions of the Antarctic and, to keep warm, the king penguin has four layers of feathering. King Penguins have 70 feathers per every square inch. The outer layer of feathers are oiled and waterproof, and the inner three layers are down feathers, which act as very effective insulation as the bitter cold.

The king penguin is a carnivorous animal, that like all other penguin species, survives on a diet that is only comprised of marine animals. Krill and small crustaceans make up the bulk of the king penguin's diet along with larger organisms including squid and various species of fish.

Due to the fact that they inhabit quite uncompromising regions, king penguins have no natural land-based predators. However, larger marine animals that also inhabit the freezing waters of the Antarctic Ocean will prey on these water-based birds, with leopard seals, sharks, humans and killer whales being the main predators of the king penguin.

On average, the king penguin breeds once a year, forming pairs that usually remain faithful to one another. The female king penguin lays two eggs which are incubated by both parents for about two months, when only one of the eggs will usually hatch. The king penguin chicks are fed and kept warm by their parents and remain with them until the chicks are about a year old.

Today, the king penguin populations in the sub-Antarctic Oceans appear to be thriving and better still increasing in numbers with more than two million breeding pairs of king penguins found around the freezing waters.

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First Published: 3rd August 2010, Last Updated: 10th September 2018

1. Christopher Perrins, Oxford University Press (2009) The Encyclopedia Of Birds [Accessed at: 03 Aug 2010]
2. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 03 Aug 2010]
3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 03 Aug 2010]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 03 Aug 2010]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 03 Aug 2010]