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Little Blue Penguin

 

Little blue penguin (Eudyptula minor)

Little Blue Penguin
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The little blue penguin is known by many different names such as blue penguin, little penguin, little blue penguin and is more commonly known as fairy penguins in Australia. It is the world’s smallest penguin measuring around 25cm tall and only 1-1.5kg in weight.

Little blues forage out to sea during the day hunting for small fish, crustaceans and squid then return back to land under the cover of darkness. They can travel up to 70km from the colony, but no more than 25km offshore and can reach speeds of up to 6km/hr, but usual speed ranges from 2-4km/hr.

Penguins reach breeding age around 2-3 years old. Two eggs are laid from August to November in burrows. The adults will take it in turns to stay with the chick guarding it until it's 3 weeks old, then both adults will go out to sea to forage. After about 8 weeks, the chicks are ready to fledge. Once fledged, the chicks are independent and the adults are then able to stock up on food before beginning their annual moult, lasting 2 weeks. During this time, the adults are unable to head out to sea to feed and can be particularly vulnerable to predators on land. Life expectancy is around 6½ years, but individuals can live as long as 25 years old.

A small breeding colony exists near the Kaikoura Coastguard building at South Bay, Kaikoura. Artificial burrows have been installed underneath the building whilst other penguins breed in the surrounding area.