Royal Penguin

Royal Penguin

Scientific Classification

Common Name
royal penguin
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Sphenisciformes
Family
Spheniscidae
Genus Species
Eudyptes schlegeli

Fast Facts

Description
Royal penguins are the largest of the crested penguins. Yellow, orange, and black crests extend to behind the eye. Crests meet in the middle of the forehead. Their chin can be pale white to gray.
Size
66–76 cm (26–30 in.)
Weight
Up to 5.5 kg (12 lbs.)
Diet
krill, squids
Incubation
32–37 days
Clutch Size: 2 eggs
Sexual Maturity
7–9 years old
Life Span
15–20 years
Range
Macquarie, Bishop, and Clerk Islands in the Southern Ocean
Habitat
Beaches or slopes covered in grasses
Population
Global: about 850,000 breeding pairs; most of population on Macquarie Island
Status 
IUCN: Vulnerable
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. Crested penguins (genus Eudyptes) lay two eggs. The second-laid egg and the subsequent chick is usually the larger of the two and usually the survivor. It typically hatches first or at the same time as the chick from the first-laid egg. The first-laid egg is often kicked out of the nest by the adults prior to hatching time.
  2. The royal penguin was once considered a subspecies of the macaroni penguin.
  3. For more information about penguins, explore the Penguin InfoBook.

Ecology and Conservation

The royal penguin population was heavily exploited for oil from 1870 to 1918. The population is currently stable and recovering from this earlier exploitation.

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.


Bibliography

BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Eudyptes schlegeli. 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.