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Little Penguin

From Opus

Alternative name: Fairy Penguin

Eudyptula minor
Photo by CorwinPhillip Island, Victoria, Australia, August 2005
Photo by Corwin
Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia, August 2005

Includes White-flippered Penguin


[edit] Identification

The smallest and palest penguin. Slaty-blue above and chin, throat and underparts white. Bill black, feet whitish with black soles.

[edit] Distribution

Southern Australia from Fremantle to Port Stephens, on the Bass Strait islands and Tasmania. In New Zealand breeds around much of North Island north to North Cape, in Cook Strait and around much of South Island, on Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands.

In Australia non-breeding birds range as far as south-east Queensland.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies[1]

Two-six subspecies are recognised:

  • E. m. novaehollandiae: closely resembling iredalei
  • E. m. iredalei: dark and slender billed
  • E. m. variabilis: larger and paler with longer and stouter bill
  • Southern North Island and Cook Strait (New Zealand)
  • E. m. albosignata - White-flippered Penguin: lighter upperparts and more white on flippers
  • Eastern South Island (New Zealand)
  • E. m. minor:
  • Western and southern South Island and Stewart Island (New Zealand)
  • E. m. chathamensis: dark with shorter, stouter bill
  • Chatham Islands

Some authors recognise only minor and novaehollandiae and include White-flippered Penguin[2].

[edit] Habitat

Breeds from the high-water mark to several hundred metres inland in burrows and natural cavities and uses these to roost throughout the year, returning to land at night. Away from burrows occurs in sheltered seas and bays, often in groups and may fish around jetties.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

Breeding season varies with range, July-March in Australia. Colonial breeder in 1 metre long burrows and rock crevices lined with vegetation. Eggs: two, white (55 x 42mm), incubated by both sexes but mainly male for 39-40 days. Young tended by both sexes and fledge in about 56 days.

[edit] Diet

Small fish.

[edit] Vocalisation

More vocal than larger penguins with sharp yapping bark as well as braying, growling and trumpeting calls.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Avibase

[edit] External Links


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