Little Penguin

Eudyptula minor

Physical Description

The Kororā, or Little Penguin, is the smallest species of penguin, standing about 30 centimetres tall and weighing around 1 kilogram. They have dark blue-grey plumage on their back and white plumage on their belly. Their wings are short, and their flippers are narrow, adapted for swimming.

Habitat and Range

Little Penguins are found along the coastlines of New Zealand, including the North and South Islands, as well as several offshore islands. They nest in burrows or under vegetation in coastal areas and spend their days at sea, returning to their nests at night.

Feeding Habits

Little Penguins are primarily carnivorous, feeding on small fish, squid, and krill. They swim swiftly and catch prey underwater with their streamlined bodies and webbed feet. They are agile divers, reaching depths up to 60 meters in search of food.

Breeding and Nesting

Little Penguins have a unique breeding behaviour, forming breeding colonies in coastal areas. They dig burrows or use existing natural crevices for nesting. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks. Little Penguins often mate for life and return yearly to the same breeding site.

Conservation Status

The Little Penguin is classified as a protected species in New Zealand. Their populations face threats such as habitat disturbance, predation by introduced mammals (like dogs and cats), and pollution. Conservation efforts focus on protecting nesting sites, managing human interactions, and raising awareness about their conservation needs.

Trees and Plant Preferences

Little Penguins do not have specific tree or plant preferences as they nest in burrows or use natural crevices in coastal areas. However, coastal vegetation and shrubs are crucial in providing nesting sites and shelter for these penguins.

Interesting Facts

  • Little Penguins are excellent swimmers and can reach up to 6 kilometres per hour in the water.
  • They have a distinctive braying call, which helps individuals recognise their mates and locate their nests in crowded colonies.
  • Little Penguins are known for their adorable waddle on land, as they have short legs and are more adapted for swimming than walking.
  • They are the only penguin species that breeds in New Zealand and are beloved by locals and visitors alike.