|Did You Know?
The king penguin is the second largest of all penguins. They are gregarious by nature gathering in colonies by the thousands. Kings are found in their colonies year round because it takes them 15-18 months to raise their single chick.
Common: King penguin.
Scientific: Aptenodytes patagonicus Aptenodytes means ‘featherless diver’ and patagonicus referring to Patagonia, a region adjacent to where they were first described.
Sub-Antarctic and Antarctic Islands. Two distinct subspecies: A.p. patagonicus inhabiting South Georgia and Falkland Islands, and A.p. halli inhabiting Kerguelen, Crozet, Prince Edward, Heard and Macquarie Islands.
Fish, cephalopods and small crustaceans. 99% of their diet made up of Lantern fish.
Sedentary; nests in large colonies on beaches, morains, and flat, tussock covered areas near the sea.
Following a prenuptial molt, a single egg is laid. Kings do not make a nest but rather incubate the egg on their feet. Incubation duties are shared by both parents. The egg is laid in the spring (Nov- March), and incubated by both parents for 54 days through the summer. Chicks are reared in the winter(May-Aug). When the chick is several months old, the parents will take to the sea to feed, leaving the chick to fast for up to four months over the winter(May-Aug). When the parents return, they resume feedings until the chick fledges, sometime between 10 and 13 months old. The parents are only able to produce two chicks every three years. King penguins do not mate for life and usually change partners each breeding season.
Leopard seals, skuas, petrels, killer whales.
Conservation Challenges and Solutions:
Earlier this century the population on South Georgia was nearly destroyed, animals being killed for oil and pelts, and a large fishing industry was taking their prey items. The population has since rebounded, and numbers here and elsewhere are increasing.
Population/IUCN- The World Conservation Union designation:
Least Concern population estimated at 2,000,000 birds.
North American Zoos & Aquariums:
Captive population in North America = 242