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Animal Database
Animal Database
Royal Penguin
Royal Penguin-1
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

The royal penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) is a subspecies of penguin, which can be found on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island and adjacent islands..


It is one of the crested penguins (a different genus from the similarly named king or emperor penguins). There is some controversy over whether royal penguins are a subspecies of macaroni penguins. Individuals of the two groups have been known to interbreed, though this is a relatively rare occurrence. Indeed, other penguins have been known to form mixed-species pairs in the wild.

They inhabit the waters surrounding Antarctica. Royals look very much like macaroni penguins, but have a white face and chin instead of the macaronis' black visage. They are 65–76 cm (26–30 in) long and weigh 3–8 kg (6.6–17.6 lb). Males are larger than females. Royal penguins breed only on Macquarie Island and, like other penguins, spend much of their time at sea, where they are assumed to be pelagic


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Royal penguins feed on krill, small fish, and small amounts of squid.[citation needed]

It has been observed that during breeding season, royal penguins will hunt in localized areas in conjunction to neighboring colonies. After observing their diet and metabolic rates, the difference implies a cohabitation with other colonies by sectoring off fishing areas for certain colonies, nearly eliminating resource competition.


Royal penguins nest on beaches or on bare areas on slopes covered with vegetation. Like most seabirds they are colonial, nesting in scrapes on the ground up to a mile inland. The breeding season begins in September with laying following in October. Though royals typically lay two eggs, only one usually survives. The egg is kept warm by both parents for around 35 days. This is done by rotating 12-day shifts. After hatching, the male cares for the chick for 2 to 3 weeks, when the female returns with food for both of them. If the female is delayed or fails to return to the colony, the chick will die. At about one month old, the chicks begin to group together for warmth and safety. Both parents continue to feed chicks two to three times a day. When the chicks are just over two months old, they will have grown their adult plumage and will leave the colony to go to sea to feed on their own. However, according to Peter Boag, it has been observed across multiple colonies many cases of infanticide, it is common for the mother of multiple eggs to abandon their first egg only a day before their second egg arrives. Due to this abandonment the first egg that was left behind has half the chance of hatching as the second egg that was kept. The reasoning behind this is still unclear.


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