Little 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
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
|35cm - 50cm (14in - 20in)|
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
|1kg - 3kg (2.2lbs - 6.6lbs)|
How long the animal lives for
|10 - 20 years|
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
|Black, White, Grey, Blue,|
The protective layer of the animal
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
The food that the animal gains energy from
|Krill, Fish, Shrimp|
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
|Leopard Seal, Killer Whale, Sharks|
Characteristics unique to this animal
|Small body size with blue/grey feathers|
Little Penguin Location
Map of Oceania
The little penguin is the smallest species of penguin in the world, with the average adult little penguin rarely reaching half a meter in height. The little penguin has a number of other common names including the fairy penguin, the little blue penguin and simply just the blue penguin.
The little penguin is one of the few species of penguin to be found north of the Antarctic Ocean, as this small species is found inhabiting the rocky coastlines of New Zealand, Tasmania and parts of southern Australia. There have also been reports of the little penguin being found in Chile and in parts of South Africa.
The little penguin is named both for its small size (with the average weight being just over 1kg) and for its blue coloured feathers. The short feathers of the little penguin are of a blue/grey colour with a large white patch on their underside, which makes these birds very distinctive amongst all penguin species.
The little penguin is one of the only species that is under threat from land-based mammalian predators and so have evolved to make their tiny appearance more intimidating. Little penguin spend the whole year together as a colony so that they are able to employ the safety in numbers strategy when there are hungry predators about.
The little 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 little penguin's diet along with larger organisms including squid and various species of fish.
Little penguins are more under threat from land-based animals such as dogs, cats and foxes that have been introduced into their native habitats. However, larger marine animals will also prey on these water-based birds, with fur seals, leopard seals, sharks, humans and killer whales being the main predators of the little penguin.
On average, the little penguin breeds once a year, forming pairs that usually remain faithful to one another. The female little penguin lays two eggs into a self-dug burrow which are incubated by both parents for just over a month, when only one of the eggs will usually hatch. The little penguin chicks are fed and kept warm by their parents and remain with them until the chicks are around three months old.
Today, the little penguin populations have been declining with the increasing threat from non-native carnivores. Little penguins however, are often found on islands that have been declared National Parks where tourists are able to see the little penguin colony in its natural habitat and are not allowed to take photos.
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First Published: 3rd August 2010, Last Updated: 8th November 2019
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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]