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Royal Penguin
Similar Birds:
 Fiordland Penguin
 Rockhopper Penguin
 Erect-Crested Penguin
 Snares Penguin
 Macaroni Penguin

Royal Penguin

Royal Penguins

Royal Penguin Range Map (Macquarie Island)
Royal Penguin Range Map (Macquarie Island)

Latin Name Eudyptes schlegeli
Conservation Status Vulnerable
Location Macquarie Island
Colour Black & White
Height Up to 70 cm (27.5 inches)
Weight 4 - 5.5 Kgs (8.8 - 12 lbs)
Life Expectancy -

Main Characteristics

Royal Penguins are very similar and are often confused with macaroni penguins. They reach up to 70 cms (27.5 inches) in height and they weigh between 4 and 5.5 kgs (8.8 - 12 lbs).

They have a white front, chin and face and are coloured black on their back. Their beak is orange in colour and they have a yellow, orange and black crest on their head.

Royal Penguins can swim at speeds up to 30 km/hr (20 mph).

They moult once a year, usually in mid March, at the end of the breeding season.


Royal Penguins are found in the waters surrounding Antarctica but during the breeding season they come ashore to breed on Macquarie Island.


Royal Penguins feed on krill, fish and squid. They capture their prey on pursuit dives at depths of 15 - 46 m (50 - 150 ft) and these dives rarely last longer than 2 minutes.


Royal Penguins gather in huge breeding colonies in October and the female lays two eggs in a shallow hole. Usually the egg that has been laid first is smaller and it is often removed from the nest so it doesn't hatch.

The remaining egg is incubated by both parents and after 30 - 35 days it hatches. The chick is looked after by the male for the first 3 - 4 weeks while the female brings food for them both. When the chicks are large enough they join a nursery group with other chicks, which is known as a creche. This enables both parents to hunt for food to satisfy the chick's growing appetite.

When the chick reaches 65 days old it will have gained its full adult plumage and it is ready to go to sea.

Royal Penguins usually begin breeding when they reach 5 years of age.


The main predators of adult Royal Penguins are leopard seals but eggs and chicks are preyed upon by skuas, giant petrels and wekas.


There are no subspecies of the Royal Penguin.

Interesting Facts

Royal Penguins are members of the crested penguin group which also includes the:
Erect-Crested Penguin
Macaroni Penguin
Snares Penguin
Fiordland Penguin
Rockhopper Penguin

The scientific name of the Royal Penguin commemorates the German zoologist Herman Schlegel.

The current population of Royal Penguins is approximately 850,000 pairs.

The largest colony of Royal Penguins can be found at Hurd Point which consists of around 500,000 pairs.

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