The King Penguin
For this year’s World Penguin Day we’re going to explore the colorful king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus). They have a world population of over two million breeding pairs living on sub-Antarctic islands in the southern hemisphere. During breeding season, they can form enormous colonies with tens of thousands of birds.
Who Are These Cool Birds?
King penguins can grow to be three feet tall and live up to twenty years old.
Their diet is made up mostly of fish, with some krill and squid.
What Makes Them Special?
King penguins are the brightest of all penguins, with bright orange cheeks and orange on the top of their chests.
They have the longest beaks of all penguin species, with vivid orange sides.
They can go to great depths in search for food, with many documented dives over a thousand feet underwater!
Male and female king penguins look alike, with the only visible difference being that the males are slightly larger. They two sexes can be identified by a difference in the pattern of syllables in their calls.
King penguin mothers lay a single egg without building a nest. The parents take turns incubating the egg on top of their feet and covering it with a patch of their abdominal skin.
King penguin chicks are naked when they hatch, and it takes a few weeks to grow their fluffy down feathers. They depend on their parents for over a year, waiting for their juvenile plumage to grow so they’re ready to fledge.
Conservation and Protection
Penguins are in danger from loss of habitat, diminished food sources, and pollution. All penguin species are protected, but there is always more that could be done to preserve these adorable birds. After all, their proliferation is a key indicator for the health of our entire planet.
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