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© Phillip Island Nature Parks

Little penguins

What type of animal are penguins?

Penguins are seabirds that don't fly. They have a beak, feathers and lay eggs. Penguins have modified wings called flippers that they use for swimming in the ocean.

How many species are there?

Around the world, there are 17 species of penguin. All penguins are found in the southern hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, sub-Antarctic islands, South America and Africa).

Where can I find a little penguin?

Little penguins are only found in southern Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, little penguin colonies are scattered around the coastline from near Perth on the west coast, to Sydney on the east coast, and around Tasmania.

Phillip Island has only one remaining little penguin colony, part of which can be seen at the Penguin Parade which offers up-close views of little penguins

Blue penguin © Phillip Island Nature Parks
© Phillip Island Nature Parks

Why do penguins waddle?

Waddling is the most efficient form of movement for penguins. Little legs and big feet make movement awkward on land but waddling helps by raising a penguin's centre of mass, allowing the penguin to swing its body forward.

How big are little penguins?

Little penguins are the smallest penguin in the world at only 33 cm (13in) tall and one kilogram (2.2 lbs).

How many little penguins are there?

Phillip Island is home to an estimated 32,000 little penguins. Current estimates put the total little penguin population at one million.

How do you tell the difference between males and females?

It's all in the beak! Adult females have a thinner beak than males. Males have a distinct hook on the end of their beak.

How far can a penguin swim?

Researchers use satellite and GPS trackers to record where penguins go at sea. Satellite tracking from Phillip Island Nature Parks shows that Phillip Island's little penguins swim an average 15 to 50 kilometres (9-31 miles) a day. This includes diving up and down as they look for fish. Little penguins swim at an average speed of 2-4 km/hr.

Find out more about the wonderful world of little penguins here - http://penguinfoundation.org.au/about-little-penguins/

Watch them waddle!

View this fascinating satellite tracking footage of little penguins was conducted at Phillip Island: