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Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Eudyptula minor novaehollandiae
Phylum: 
Chordata
Species class: 
Aves
Order: 
Sphenisciformes
Family: 
Spheniscidae
Genus: 
Eudyptula
Species: 
minor
Status: 
Least Concern
Population Trend: 
Decreasing
Quick Facts

Life Span: 15-20 years

Size: Approx 30-40cm

Weight: 1kg

The little penguin is the smallest of the 17 penguin species. They are blueish-grey with a white underside and throat. Males are slightly bigger than females.

Collective noun: Colony

Fun Facts

Size: The little penguin is the smallest of all the penguin species.

Vocals: These penguins are noisy communicators, producing a variety of distinctive snorts, screeches, brays and growls depending on their activity.

Native: The little penguin is the only species of penguin found in Australia. While all species of penguin are found in the Southern Hemisphere, it is often surprising to people that penguins can be found as far north as Sydney. In fact, only few species are found in cold climates.

Preening: Little penguins spend a lot of time preening themselves with a wax-like oil that is secreted from a gland near the base of their tail. This assists in waterproofing.

Moulting: Little penguins undergo an annual moult that lasts for about 15 days. They come ashore to moult and do not go out to see during this time because they have lost their waterproofing. They retire to burrows and shelters and don’t eat during this time.

Predators: Natural predators of little penguins include sharks and seals.

The Little Penguin is the smallest of all penguin species, weighing around 1kg and reaching about 30cm tall. It is the only penguin with slate-blue back feathers and flippers, which is why they are often known as the ‘little blue penguin’. The underside is white, the eyes are silver and the bill is black.

Little Penguins are noisy communicators, producing a variety of distinctive snorts, screeches, brays and growls depending on their activity.

The Little Penguin is the only species of penguin native to Australia. Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, only a few are found in cold climates such as Antarctica. In fact, one species, the Galapagos Penguin, is found near the equator.

At Taronga:

We have a large colony of little penguins at Taronga consisting of approximately 49 penguins. Currently Taronga has 12 breeding pairs.

Beginning of breeding season at Taronga is a very noisy affair with males jostling for the prime breeding burrows.

Taronga’s Little Penguin breeding program has been so successful that we have been able to send birds to other institutions around the world to boost genetic diversity.

Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital also treats about 30 Little Penguins annually, to hopefully rehabilitate and rerelease back into the wild.

Region: 
Source: 
www.iucnredlist.org
Year assessed: 
2009