Little Penguins are the smallest species of penguin. They are approximately 41 cms (16 inches) in height and they weigh approximately 1 kg (2.25 lbs).
They are coloured blue/grey on their head and back and are white in colour on their front. Their beak is dark grey and they have silver/grey coloured eyes.
They moult once a year at the end of the breeding season and this usually takes place between February and March.
Little Penguins are found in large colonies on the southern coast of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. They spend their days out at sea hunting for food but at night they return to their burrow or rock crevice.
Little Penguins feed upon fish, squid and crustaceans. They mainly make shallow dives up to 9 m (30 ft) in depth to catch prey but sometimes they will dive down to the ocean floor.
Little Penguins usually mate for life and their breeding season is variable although it usually begins in August or September. They construct nests in a sheltered rock crevice or they dig a burrow in which to lay their eggs.
Females lay 2 eggs, but depending on the availability of food supplies they may lay up to 3 clutches of eggs in one breeding season. Both parents incubate the eggs and after approximately 5 weeks the chicks hatch.
Up until the chicks are 3 weeks old they are closely cared for by both parents, but for the following 5 weeks both adults go to sea to hunt, only returning to the chicks to feed them. When the youngsters reach 8 weeks old they are ready to leave the nest and fend for themselves.
The main predators of Little Penguins include southern fur seals, leopard seals, sea lions, killer whales, foxes, dogs, cats, sea eagles and large gulls. Eggs and chicks fall prey to rats, weasels, stoats, snakes and lizards.
White Flippered Penguin
Conservation Status: Endangered
They are found on the Banks Peninsula, Motunau Island and the North Canterbury coast.
There is disagreement on the classification of the white flippered penguin and some scientists consider it to be a separate species of penguin.
Little Penguins are also known as:
Little Blue Penguin
Eudyptula is greek and it means "good little diver".
The population of Little Penguins is approximately 500,000 pairs.