King penguin

Species profile

Name: the king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second-largest species of penguin after the emperor penguin.

Appearance: king penguins are highly distinctive and charismatic birds. Standing tall, they have white bellies, silver-grey backs, and black heads, with a distinctive orange patch on their cheeks and chins. They are similar in appearance to the closely related empower penguin but can be distinguished by their orange cheek patches compared to the yellow patches of the emperors.

Size: they stand up to a metre tall and weigh up to 18 kg.

Diet: king penguins mainly eat lanternfish, squid, and krill.

Did you know: in order to find their food king penguins dive to over 100 metres deep, and have been recorded at depths of over 300 metres! They usually dive for around 5 minutes however the longest known dive was over 9 minutes long. King penguins typically dive in a U shape pattern, heading down to the depths before spending time hunting at a particular level, then returning up to the surface. To reach these depths they can swim up to 10 km per hour. On land, however, they are wobbly on their feet and often move by tobogganing across the ice.

Location: king penguins breed on islands in and around the Antarctic such as South Georgia. They are also found on islands in the South Indian Ocean and on Macquarie Island.

Where to see king penguins

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see king penguins in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
South Georgia
very good
very good
Tierra del Fuego
Argentina and Chile
very good

Photo credit: Djwosa under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay

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