The little penguin (Eudyptula minor), the smallest of all penguins (~30-40 cm), is endemic to southern Australia and New Zealand, breeding during the austral autumn to summer months. These dark indigo-blue coloured penguins are the only genuinely nocturnal penguin species on land; adults always arrive after dusk and leave before dawn. The global population is estimated as 469,760 individuals. The little penguin population trend is stable overall with localised decrease is some sites. This species is a generalist feeder with significant variability in diet between colonies and even between years at the same colony. They feed mainly on clupeids such as anchovy Engraulis sp and sardines Sardinops sagax when feeding chicks but they may also feed on krill Nyctiphanes australis and several species of cephalopods at all stages of breeding and jellyfish . This variability in the diet is also found in their trophic interactions where penguins can reduce the prey trophic range in response to years of low breeding success and segregate foraging areas within the same colony. When foraging some individuals can take advantage of human-made features, like ship channels to aid in their foraging. Breeding age, ranging from 2 to 18+ years, seems to play a crucial role as well, as middle-aged (8-12 years) penguins are better breeders, employ more effective foraging strategies ] and feed in different locations.
For more information on Humboldt penguin natural history visit the Global Penguin Society at https://www.globalpenguinsociety.org/portfolio-species-18.html
For more information on Humboldt penguin conservation status visit the IUCN Red List page at https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22697805/184753545