Latin name: Eudyptes schlegeli

Population: 850,000 pairs

Conservation Status: Vulnerable (IUCN, 2009)

Length: 65-75 cm

Weight: 3.0 to 8.1 kg

Mating/Breeding: Royal Penguins nest on beaches or on bare areas on slopes covered with vegetation. The breeding season begins in September with laying starting in October. Two eggs are incubated for 35 days, with each incubation stint lasting up to two weeks. After brooding the chick for three weeks, both parents forage at sea while the chicks form large crèches. The chicks fledge after two months. Young adults usually return to the colony to breed after six years.

Feed on: Royal Penguins feed on krill, fish, and small amounts of squid.

Threats: The currently stable population is threatened by introduced predators, human disturbance, marine and atmospheric pollution, habitat loss and degradation. The effect of climate change on food supply may offer the most significant long-term threat.

Colour/Looks: Royals look very much like Macaroni Penguins, but have a white face and chin instead of the Macaronis’ black visage.

Where found: Royals are largely, but not entirely, limited to Macquarie Island, south of Australia

Interesting Trivia:

·         Historically they were harvested for their oil, between 1870 and 1919 the government of Tasmania issuing licences for hunting them, with an average 150,000 penguins (both Royal and King) being taken each year.

·         The scientific name (Eudyptes schlegeli) commemorates the German zoologist Hermann Schlegel.

More info:

Hadoram Shirihai, A complete guide to Antarctic wildlife (2002)

David McGonigal & Lynn Woodworth, Antarctica and the Arctic. The complete encyclopedia (2001)