Best 10 Little penguins Facts, Food, Behavior, lifespan

Little penguins

As their name suggests, little penguins are the smallest penguin species. Little penguins grow to thirty-three centimeters in height, and forty-three centimeters in length. The species inhabit the Northern Islands of Australia and coastlines of New Zealand. According to some researchers some subspecies are also found in Chile.

Australians also address them by the name fairy penguins as they are so small. However, in New Zealand they are often referred to as “Blue penguins”, and “Little blue penguins.” They call them blue penguins due to their blue skin or plumage. 

Like all other penguins, little penguin’s feathers have also now evolved into flippers. These developed flippers are adapted to swim excellently in water.

The upper body including head and the body are blue in color. They have slate-grey ears, and the color fades into greyish white to the lower body part.

Little penguins Introduction

The little penguins with the scientific name of Eudyptula minor are the smallest penguin species that inhabit Chile, New Zealand, and coastlines of Southern Australia. They have an approximate length of about 17 inches and weigh 2.2 pounds only. In addition to this, the little penguin pale plumage and small size help to distinguish it. When the land predators are about to sleep, these animal species used to move on land. Here, we are going to discuss many of the interesting facts about these animals.

Little penguin habitat

These animal species have deep indigo blue-colored feathers and are also called the blue birds. The little penguin habitat includes temperate seas where the water temperature is between 13 to 20 degrees Celsius. Most of them are also found in inshore waters, continental shelf, and breeding islands. Furthermore, they also live in colonies, and their largest colonies are present on Brush Island, Tollgate Island, and Montague Island.

Little penguin fun facts

These penguins with the swimming speed of 6 miles/hour are excellent swimmers. They are diurnal and spend most of their day time during forging and swimming. The little penguin facts include that they can dive as deep as 236 feet. In addition to this, they communicate with each other by producing a variety of nine different sounds.  These social animal species have recorded travelling distance of about 629 miles.

Little penguin diet

There are present many of the exciting facts about little penguin diet, including that they can dive to the seabed in search of food. Furthermore, Pilchards, Octopus, Krill i.e., Nyctiphanes australis, Plankton, anchovies, and Squid are mostly eaten by them, but the less eaten preys include eels, seashores, jellyfishes, and crab larvae. It has also been found that these little penguins swallow their food completely, just like the other animals.

Little penguin behavior

They sometimes appear to be in small groups named rafts and spend most of their time at land and sea hunting in search of food. These little penguins leave their nest at the time of dusk and return at the time of dusk. It has also been found that the foraging efficiency of these animal species gets negatively affected by the increased wind speeds. They produce a variety of noises for using them in different situations.

Little penguin breeding

The males reach the maturity level at the age of three years, and females become sexually mature at the age of about two years. They usually mate between the seasons of June and August. The little penguin life cycle is also of great concern in such a way that they lay a clamp of two eggs and sometimes two clutches. Furthermore, the incubation period, after which the chicks hatch, is about forty days.

Little penguin population

Some of these animal species are threatened but mostly are not endangered. These little penguin species are found to be breed across the New Zealand Islands and Southern Australia. It has been estimated that the total population of these breeds left all over the world is about 350,600,000. Researches have shown that this population is also decreasing due to habitat loss.

Little penguin predators

Like all other animals, these birds are also eaten by other animal species. The little penguin predators include sharks, killer whales, fur seals, and leopard seals. To get prevention from these water-based predators, they usually enter the water in groups, thus using their feathers to get protection against cold. In addition to this, they also get eaten by humans.

Little penguin adaptations

Some of the exciting behavioral adaptations about these water-based little penguins are as follows:

  1. ·       The slower swimming speed of them is about 2.5kph
  2. ·       The wing structure of these animal species include paddle-like flappers which they use for swimming purposes
  3. ·       They have well-developed breast and wing muscles which penguins use to move through the water
  4. ·       For reducing dragging in the water, a streamlined body is present

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Little penguin pets

Although these species are social animals, they cannot be made good pets. There is a requirement of proper legal paperwork to owe a little penguin. However, these animals cost about $1000 and do not attack humans but are very shy and cute little species.

Little penguin lifespan

Like all other animals, these little birds also have a specific lifespan. They can live up to six years, but this time get increased depending upon their diet. For example, these penguins in captivity can live a long life of up to twenty-five years.

Little penguin babies

The little penguins lay one to three eggs that are almost similar in size to the chicken eggs. Between September and December, these eggs hatch and cute little chicks are born after the incubation period of almost 35 days.

Little penguin ecological aspects

As little penguins are social animals, they are being used as a source of food for different varieties of other animal species i.e., dogs, cats, and rats. Furthermore, researches have shown that the feather mites named Ingrassia eudyptula attack on the feathers of these penguins; thus eating the preening oil present on their feathers.

Little penguins manly

There are some of these birds who live in Manly. These penguins usually come back to Manly during the breeding months of February and May. In addition to this, these little penguins are the only mainland breeding colonies left in Manly and use about more than ten Island sites for breeding purposes.


Sometimes, the people get confused even after reading the interesting facts about these little birds and raise some questions to make their minds clear. So, the answers to some of those raised questions are as given below:

What are little penguins called?

There are present different names used for these cute little penguins. For example, they are called blue penguins, little blue penguins, and fairy penguins as well. The pale blue to dark gray plumage and diminutive stature of these fairy penguins characterizes them.

Where are little penguins found?

They are found in New Zealand Islands and Australia. In addition to this, their breeding range gets extended from Western Australia to Tasmania and Sydney. They are mostly found in colonies or in small groups named rafts.

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Why are little penguins blue?

These smallest known species of penguins which inhabit Australia and New Zealand are blue in color and cannot fly. Their deep blue color helps them blend in the ocean so that other predators cannot eat them.

Are little penguins extinct?

Researches have shown that these animal species are neither endangered nor extinct. They also have a huge population range of about 35,600,000; and it is also found that this population will get decreased by the passage of time due to habitat loss and other threats.

What time do little blue penguins come ashore?

These penguins usually come ashore at dusk and leave at the time of dawn during the breeding season. At dusk, they are a little bit noisy and louder, but their deep growls and loud screams can be heard at night.

Can we touch little penguins?

Although these little penguins are shy, they cannot be used for pet purposes. In the other way, they are not so safe to be touched because they sometimes can cause severe harm.

Can little blue penguins fly?

Like all other penguins, these little penguins have not specific wings for flying purposes. Instead of this, their wings have turned into flippers and a waterproof coat. They can fly along the underwater with these flippers.

Do penguins have fleas?

These shy and social little penguin sometimes become sick and get avian Cholera, tuberculosis, flu, etc. They also include some parasites in them i.e., fleas, lice, and licks as well.

What animals kill little penguins?

The predators by which these birds get eaten are sharks, whales, fur seals, leopard seals; humans are their main predators who use them for meat purposes.

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Do penguins have teeth?

As all birds have no teeth, these little penguins being birds also do not have any teeth. Furthermore, the backward-facing fleshy spines are present in them.

What noise do little penguins make?

These birds can produce a variety of noises depending upon the situation i.e., short and sharp bark, hoarse whoops, and throbbing growls.


As we have discussed many exciting facts and information about these animal species, they are also still known to become extinct due to habitat loss and other threats, including predators. They are being used for meat purposes by humans and other predators and will be at greater risk of becoming endangered during the upcoming years. Instead of all this, many Rehabilitation centers and rescue teams are also present for their preservation. They give them proper care, diet, and also provide them with the best veterinary services. We must support different centers and protect these little penguins. These shy birds are also not considered good to be kept as pets because they sometimes cause severe harm.

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