The Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) is the smallest penguin in the world. It is an aquatic marine bird, or sea bird, found on the coastline of southern Australia and New Zealand. They are often called Fairy Penguins because of their size.
The Little Penguin has blue-black smooth fur with a white underbelly. It has two blue-black flippers (that are white on the underside), which enable them to swim in the ocean. It has a dark-grey beak and pink feet with black webbed soles. It has blue-grey or hazel eyes. It preens (cleans) its feathers to keep them waterproof. Near the tail is an oil gland. They use the oil as waterproofing.
It can grow to about 33 centimetres (13 inches) tall.
The Little Penguin is diurnal because it is active at night. It alternates between land (for breeding) and sea (for feeding). They spend most of their day swimming.
It feeds on fish, crabs, lobsters, squids, and octopuses.
The Little Penguin lives in colonies. It nests in burrows (holes in the sandy ground) on the be beach along the coast. It also nests in rock crevices, in caves, or under logs. Females lay 1-2 white or speckled brown eggs in the burrow. The eggs hatch after about 36 days.
The young penguins are called chicks. They gain all of their feathers by the age of 7-8 weeks. During this time, their parents feed them.
The Little Penguin lives for about 6-7 years, and longer in captivity.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM