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Penguins are beautiful creatures that inhabit many areas of the Southern Hemisphere, be it in Antarctica, the coasts of South America, the Galapagos Islands, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. They’re flightless, aquatic birds and are highly adapted to live by water, ice, and snow. Currently, there are around 17 different species of penguins, and we will be taking you on an adventure to get to know more about the Royal Penguin.
What’s the Royal Penguin?
The Royal penguin is a magical creature that shouldn’t be confused with the Emperor penguin. They’re mid-sized, crested penguins from the genus Eudyptes (meaning good diver), and are also believed to be related to the Macaroni penguins, even though this causes quite the controversy amongst zoologists. However, the key to distinguish them is by noticing their white chin and face, which the Macaroni penguins don’t have. They’re also famous for their yellow and orange feathers that crest the top of their heads, which makes them beautiful and unique. They’re also fantastic swimmers and can dive deep depths.
Where They Inhabit
The Royal penguin tends to inhabit the Macquarie Island, which lies in the southwest Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and Antarctica. This island is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, so these penguins are protected along with other wildlife on the island, but it’s also open for tourists. You can get to Macquarie Island via cruises from Australia and New Zealand, and the journey can take up to 17 days, which takes you across the southwest Pacific Ocean. There, you’ll witness some of the best wildlife, including the Royal Penguin, in their natural habitat; they tend to spend their time at the northern edge of the Polar Frontal Zone.
How they Behave and Eat
The Royal Penguins tend to nest in large colonies, and they’re extremely social creatures; they form long-lasting bonds and spend their time closely together. They’re also able to identify each other’s vocals, so it makes it easier for them to find each other whether these are their mates or children. They generally feed on krill, fish, and squid. A chick becomes independent of feeding itself after two months.
How They Breed
They are migrating penguins and tend to move all over; however, when it’s time to breed, they do so on Macquarie Island. These penguins are sexually mature as of one year and are monogamous. The males arrive to choose the perfect nesting spot in September, and the females arrive in October. If the male and the female have mated before, they will tend to call out to each other first and mate year after year. They’ll only change mates if they can’t find their original mate.
The female lays two eggs, but mainly one survives. The parents take shifts for incubation, and the chick will arrive after 35 days. This is when the male will take care of the baby chick, and the female will go on hunting journeys to provide for food. Then after 10 days, they’ll switch roles.
Nature will always be a wondrous thing. With its intricacies and almost perfect synchronism, we will always be fascinated by it. The Royal Penguins are a beautiful gift, and knowing more about them allows us to appreciate how unique they are.