Little Blue Penguin

The Smallest Species of Penguins

Penguins are a beloved and iconic bird group in the Southern Hemisphere. They come in various sizes, from the significant Emperor Penguin to the small Little Blue Penguin. But which species is the smallest?

Little Blue Penguins

The Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor) is the smallest penguin species, measuring just 13 inches tall and weighing 2-3 pounds. They are found along the coasts of Australia and New Zealand, also known as Fairy Penguins or Blue Penguins due to their small size and blue-gray plumage.

Little Blues feed on small fish, squid, and krill that they catch while swimming in shallow waters near shore. During the breeding season, they build nests from sticks and grasses near burrows or under rocks. The female lays two eggs which both parents take turns incubating for about 35 days until hatching.

Other Small Species

The following smallest species is the White-Flippered Penguin (Eudyptula albosignata), slightly larger than its cousin at 15 inches tall and 3-4 pounds. This species is found only on the Banks Peninsula in New Zealand’s South Island. It has similar feeding habits to Little Blues but builds its nest with feathers instead of sticks and grasses.

The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is another small species at 18 inches tall and 4-6 pounds. This species can be found along the coastlines of South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique, where it feeds on sardines, anchovies, squid, crustaceans, mollusks, and other small fish. African Penguins nest in colonies on islands or mainland cliffs where they dig burrows to lay their eggs in for protection from predators such as seals or jackals.

Conservation Status

Unfortunately, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists all three species as Vulnerable. All three have experienced population declines due to overfishing in their food sources and habitat destruction from human activities such as oil spills or coastal development projects. As a result, conservation efforts have been put into place to help protect these species from further decline, including protected areas for nesting sites and regulations on fishing practices near penguin colonies.


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