Description: The King Penguin is the world’s second largest penguin species, reaching over three feet in height and weighing up to 35 pounds. King Penguins are very powerful swimmers and can easily reach depths of over 700 feet.
The King Penguin looks somewhat like a smaller version of the Emperor Penguin. It has a black head, neck, back, tail, and black wings (flippers). It has white underparts with varying amounts of gold or yellow toward the top of the breast. In addition, it has bright orange patches at the ears. Like all penguins, the King Penguin has waterproof feathers and multiple layers of down feathers that act as insulation. In addition, it has a special gland that acts as a salt filter, which allows the penguin to drink salt water.
Diet: Small fish, especially lanternfish, squid, krill, and crustaceans.
Range: The King Penguin breeds on sub-Antarctic Islands. Large colonies exist on the Falkland Islands. They are also found on Crozet, Prince Edward , Kerguelen, South Georgia and Mazquarie Islands.
Nesting: King Penguins breed in November or December. Once the single egg is laid, the male takes care of it while the female ventures into the sea to fatten up. In about three weeks, she returns to the egg and begins incubation while the male ventures to the sea. The egg hatches in about 55 days. Both parents take care of the chick for about 35 days, before it joins other chicks in a creche (huddle). Before it reaches adult plumage, the chick looks like a big, fuzzy, brown ball of feathers. Young King Penguins rely on their parents for regurgitated food for about a year before they are ready to venture to the sea on their own. Adult King Penguins only raise a single chick every two years.
Status: The King Penguin is common and increasing. Some estimates indicate the population of King Penguins exceeds 2.25 million pairs.
Quiz code: Tuxedo Birds