Fairy penguin Australia home page
Penguins are only found in the Southern Hemisphere and the Little Blue (or Fairy Penguin) are found along the shores of Southern Australia and New Zealand (see map)
Australian Location Their scientific name is "Eudyptula minor", Eudyptula being Greek for "good little diver, which is a great description for this smallest species of penguin Little penguins spend their days out at sea in groups, referred to as rafts and at dusk they return to their burrows or rock crevice colonies, in small groups Whilst on land they are very noisy especially before their pre dawn departure back to sea to feed

family group keeping a lookout These small penguins (16 inches) have a bluish colour to their upper feathers, and white underbelly , chin and neck and no ornamental plumage on the head at all. There weight is around the 1kg mark
Like most penguins their bodies are best described as short and stocky to "chubby". The Little Penguins short stiff feathers are kept waterproof by preening from oil glands located at the base of the tail Little penguins do molt though so their feathers are not always oily smooth

flapping his wings Fairy Penguins catch most of their food with shallow dives (0 to 11 meters) but do also sometimes dive to the seabed They eat small fish such as anchovies, squid, plankton, krill, small octopi and pilchards From the seafloor they may eat crab larvae, sea horses and crustaceans They eat their fish whole

click for info on pic As already mentioned the Little Blue Penguin (Fairy Penguin) makes their nest in either burrows or rock crevices lining the nest with plant material
Females arriving at the breeding colonies are meet by noisy male courting displays
June through to August is the peak egg laying time on Australia's shores, with 1or 2 or even sometimes 3 broods (Clutches) being raised (depending on food availability)
2 eggs are laid at a time and take 36 days to hatch. Both male and female Little Penguins incubate the eggs
The first 3 weeks the chicks are attended to constantly with the following 5 weeks being visited only to be fed regurgitated fish from either of its parents.
The little penguins are then forced from their nest and naturally know how to swim so they start to fend for themselves
The average life-span is said to be seven years, and many Little Penguins usually mate for life (4 out of 5.)
Each year they will return to the same burrow and "renovate" it, if it is not to badly damaged

Splashing with Glee THREATS
Their are many threats to the survival of these penguins both natural and man made
Predators at sea such as Sharks, seals (Lion Leopard, Fur), Killer whales,
Predators on land such as Sea Eagles and large Gulls,
Introduced species such as foxes dogs and feral cats and nest predators like rats, snakes and lizards
Starvation as they are dependant on other species (especially small fish) to feed on
Man made problems of pollution, oil spills, plastic, road kills, gill net fishing and loss of breeding habitats

Australian Museum Online
Parks and wildlife Service of Tasmania Little penguin, Eudyptula minor

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