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King Penguin

Aptenodytes patagonicus

King Penguins breed on the subantarctic and temperate islands between 45° and 55°S, including South Georgia Islands, Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Macquarie Island, Falkland/Malvinas Islands, as well Tierra del Fuego. Migratory. They breed in dense colonies located amongst tussocks, gently sloping beaches, and sometimes can be over a kilometer inland. The king penguin is the second largest species of penguin (80-90 cm tall, 14-16 kg). Females tend to be of smaller than the males but both sexes have similar plumage: Ventrally white, dorsally a dark blue-black color. Head, chin, and throat black. Bright orange auricular patches extend around the neck region to the lower breast. After two years juveniles molt into adult plumage. Chicks hatch with a brown-grey down, which is replaced with a thick brown down coat until 10-12 months of age. Breeding population is estimated at 1,600,000 pairs.

For more information on king penguin natural history visit the Global Penguin Society at  


For more information on king penguin conservation status visit the IUCN Red List page at 

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