Little blue penguins are the smallest species of penguin in the world.
They are found exclusively in Australia and New Zealand.
Size 12 inches tall and weighs 2 to 3 pounds
Diet Small fish and occasionally squid and krill
Lifespan Average of 6.5 years, but some individuals have been
known to live up to 20 years.
Range Coastlines and inshore waters of Australia and New Zealand
Habitat Most colonies are found on sandy, rocky islands, around
bases of cliffs or near sand dunes. Little blue penguins feed in inshore
waters around the mainland and offshore islands.
Predators Natural predators include gulls, fur seals and sharks. Little blue
penguins also face introduced predators such as cats, dogs and foxes.
Relatives There are 18 penguin species. Little blue penguins are thought by
some to be the first penguins that evolved from flying birds.
Family life Breeding occurs between August and December. Nests are
usually in natural burrows or rock piles, and females lay one or two eggs.
The male and female take turns incubating the eggs in shifts that last a few
days until the eggs hatch after about 36 days. Chicks are fed by their parents
in shifts for three to four weeks. Little blue penguins reach sexual maturity after three years.
Conservation status Least concern Despite recent decreases in population, little blue penguins continue to live in large numbers and maintain a large habitat range. Conservation measures helping keep this species healthy include controlling predator populations such as dogs, cats and foxes, and reclaiming beachfront neighborhoods for nesting grounds.
Penguins and climate change Scientists feel climate change is having a dramatic effect on the feeding habits and survival of little penguins. High storm activity is making it harder for the penguins to find food, causing a decline in the average birth weight of chicks and thus a decline in chick survival. Little Penguins appear to be sensitive to changes in their climate and have the potential to act as indicators of climate change. Read more ...