Penguins (Little or Fairy)

Eudyptula minor – Australian

At Billabong Zoo, Port Macqaurie we have 5 Little Penguins – 3 males & 2 males and newly hatched young (September 2016)

Skipper (male); Memphis(m); Private (m); Kowalski (female); Mumble (f)

Little (or Fairy) Penguins are flightless seabirds. They use their  modified wings, called flippers, for swimming. Little Penguins are the smallest of all the 17 penguin species;  approximately 33cm tall and weigh around 1 kilogram. They are the only penguins with blue & white feathers instead of black & white feathers. Penguins moult once a year to replace their old & worn feathers.

Distribution & Habitat

The Little Penguin is the only species of penguin native to Australia. They spend approximately 80% of their lives at sea, returning to land to breed, moult and rest.  When ashore they live usually in burrows in social colonies.

Diet

They can eat about 30% of their body weight (approx. 300g) of small fish daily such as Anchovies, Red Cod, Pilchards and Squid. They usually travel between 10 to 30km daily to feed & swim at speeds of between 4 – 9 kph. An average dive in search of fish is between 5 & 20 metres (the deepest dive recorded is 72 metres). Their scientific name – Eudyptula minor –  means ‘good little diver’.  They can hold their breath for 2 minutes.

Life expectancy & Breeding

The average lifespan is 7 years but there have been recorded cases of Little Penguins living to 26 years. They reach sexual maturity at 2 – 3 years & 2 eggs are usually laid around October, hatching 33 – 37 days later. Chicks leave the nest when they are fully fledged at 7 -9 weeks and head to the ocean to mature. 

Book an Up-Close encounter today

11:00am & 3:20pm daily

FEEDING & KEEPER TALK:

Daily at 10:00am