King Penguin

Theme area:  Isla de Hielo
Scientific name:  Aptenodytes patagonicus
Class:  Birds
Continent:  Antarctica
Habitat:  Oceans and Seas
Diet:  Piscivorous
Weight:  9 - 15 kg
Size:  91 - 95 cm
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The King penguin is native to South America; they usually live in southern Argentina and Chile, but can also travel as far as the Antarctic, South Africa or Australia and New Zealand.

It is the second largest of all penguin species. Although easily confused with the Emperor penguin, the King penguin is more colourful and has a longer, thinner beak.

King penguins are very social birds and live in colonies with populations of up to 39,000 breeding pairs. They have a lower rate of monogamy than smaller penguin species in that, if both mates do not arrive at the colony at the same time, a new mate may be chosen. They don't build nests, both the egg and then the chick will remain on the parent's legs under a pouch of skin on the adult's belly. The female lays a single egg and the male incubates the egg until it hatches, while the female feeds in the ocean. The chick reaches independence at 12-16 months and the parents will not breed again until after this time. This means that they usually reproduce twice every 3 years.

The Selwo Marina group is part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria's (EAZA) European Endangered Species Conservation Programme (EEP).


Conservation Status
Extinct in the wild
Critically endangered
Near threatened
Least concern
Insufficient data
Not evaluated


Chicks are born covered in brown down, which they will begin to lose, giving way to feathers, from the age of one year onwards.
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