Description: The stocky Royal Penguin has a black cap, neck, back, tail, and black wings (flippers). It has a white face, throat, and underparts. The bill is large, thick, and orangish in color. The Royal Penguin has conspicuous yellow feather tufts that extend from near the bill. On average, the Royal Penguin measures about two feet in height and weighs 10-15 pounds. Some scientists consider the Royal Penguin a sub-species of the similar Macaroni Penguin.
Diet: krill, fish and small amounts of squid.
Range: Royal Penguins breed on Macquarie Island, though individuals routinely show up in New Zealand and along other nearby islands.
Nesting: Royal Penguins nest on beaches or slopes covered with vegetation. Female Royal Penguins give lay their eggs in October. Two eggs are laid and incubated for a period of about 35 days, though only one chick usually survives. The male and female take turns incubating the eggs in two-week shifts. When the eggs hatch, the young are cared for by the male, while the female ventures to the sea and brings food back to the her mate and her young. After about three weeks, the young penguins of the colony form a creche (huddle) while their parents continue to feed them for several weeks. After about two months, the young penguins attain adult plumage and begin life on their own.
Status: While the Royal Penguin is still considered a threatened species, recent estimates have indicated over 850,000 pairs in existence.
Royal Penguins (and other species)