King Penguin

Aptenodytes patagonius

The second largest penguin, the king penguin spends most of its time at sea, coming ashore only during the breeding season. Like other penguins, the king penguin cannot fly in the air. However, its streamlined body and paddle-like wings enable it to swim underwater faster than many birds can fly.

More info

A thick layer of body fat and a waterproof coat insulate the penguin from icy temperatures. Penguins are counter-shaded for camouflage; while swimming, the black back blends in with the dark sea below, and the white belly blends in with the sunlight above.

  • Penguins can drink saltwater thanks to glands on their bills that filter out the salt.
  • Mates can find each other and their chick among a colony of thousands by their individual calls.
  • King penguins have to watch out for predators such as leopard seals and killer whales.
  • On land, tobogganing on their bellies is a quicker way to get around than walking.


Fact File

where to see themWhere to see them: Wings of the World
heightHeight: Up to 3 ft
weightWeight: 20 to 45 lbs
life expectancyLife Expectancy: 25
habitatHabitat: Ocean and islands
dietDiet: Squid, crustaceans, and fish