Little blue penguin


The little blue is the smallest of all penguins growing to between 35-40cm and weighing in at only 1kg. These penguins live an average of 6-7 years though have been known to live for more than 20 when in captivity. They can be found all around the coast of New Zealand, the southern coast of Australia and surrounding islands. They sport steel blue coats and white bellies, which is the perfect camouflage for swimming in the ocean Little blues race through the water at speeds of around 6km per hour. Little blues spend their days swimming the oceans, eating fish, squid and crustaceans. They come ashore after dark so are not frequently spotted by humans.

Little blues will usually mate for life. Between May and June the Little blues prepare their nests for the breeding season. Between August and November a breeding pair will lay 1 or 2 eggs. By around eight weeks of age the chicks are ready to fend for themselves. Little blues commonly return to breed to a spot very close to where they were hatched and will continue to use the same spot. Each year sometime between November and March Little Blues will spend two weeks ashore moulting and growing a new coat. They can look very dishevelled at this time but are best left alone.

Rats, cats, ferrets, stoats, weasels and dogs are all introduced species and natural predators of the little blue penguin. Although numbers of Little Blues have reduced since the introduction of predators and the ever expanding human population, with care from the Department of Conservation their numbers are stable and they are not considered under threat from extinction.

More Information

Little blue penguin resources in our catalogue
Penguins Barbara Todd
Little blue penguin Department of Conservation
Little blue penguin New Zealand birds online
Little and yellow-eyed penguins Te Ara
Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
Our full list of New Zealand Birds and Animals
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