- Common Name
- fairy penguin, little penguin, little blue penguin
- Genus Species
- Eudyptula minor
- The little penguin is the smallest of the 17 penguin species. They have slate-blue to black feathers and a white chin and chest.
- Up to 41 cm (16 in.)
- Up to 1 kg (2 lbs.)
- Small fishes
- 33 to 37 days
- Sexual Maturity
- 2 to 3 years old
- Life Span
- 15 to 20 years
- Southern Australia and New Zealand
- Sandy or rocky islands
- 469,760 individuals
- IUCN: Least concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed
Fairy penguins have bluish-gray eyes.
The maximum swimming speed for fairy penguins is about 2.5 kph (1.6 mph).
Fairy penguins can breed throughout the year and have the shortest breeding cycle of all penguin species, which lasts about 50 days.
Fairy penguins rely on burrows and a nocturnal lifestyle to avoid predators such as swamp harriers, peregrines, gulls, snakes, rats, and lizards.
For more information about penguins, explore the Penguin InfoBook.
Ecology and Conservation
Fairy penguins are negatively affected by several human-related factors including introduces predators such as dogs and cats, habitat destruction, bycatch, oil pollution. They are also sensitive to climate change.
All 18 penguin species are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 makes it illegal to harm, or in any way interfere with, a penguin or its eggs. Every penguin specimen collected with a permit must be approved by and reported to the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR). Penguins are vulnerable to habitat destruction, overfishing of primary food sources, ecological disasters such as oil spills, pollution such as trash in the ocean, and human encroachment into nesting areas.
BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Eudyptula minor. Downloaded from birdlife.org
Coats, Judith. Penguins: Flightless Birds of the Southern Hemisphere. SeaWorld Education Department, 2001.
Nuzzolo, Debbie. Penguin March. SeaWorld Education Department, 2002.
BirdLife International 2018. Eudyptula minor . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22697805A132603951. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22697805A132603951.en. Downloaded on 13 March 2020.