King Penguin

(Aptenodytes patagonicus)

King penguins, with a body length of over a metre, are the second largest penguins on our planet after the emperor penguin. They live in rings around Antarctica, where they come together to form large breeding colonies. They feed on fish, crabs and all kinds of other delicacies from the sea.


Subantarctic Islands

Pack ice, bodies of water in the subantarctic zone

Fish and crustaceans

Approx. 590,000

80 to 95 cm

Approx. 15 kg

Brooding time:
1 to 2 months

Achievable age
Approx. 20 years

What you should know about king penguins
King penguins hunt together in their groups for large schools of fish. They come together here in swarms and snap at everything they come across.

The parents work together

If a female has laid her egg, the father takes it at his feet for the subsequent breeding season and covers it with his belly fold. The mother returns with a large stock of predigested fish mash for the young chick after it has hatched. At that point the male does the strengthening, and afterwards the parents alternate positions.

Free Willy? Rather not!
Killer whales are enemies of the king penguins. Apart from the whales, only leopard seals are worth a mention. When it comes to the chicks, it's primarily birds that make life difficult for the parents and child. The southern giant petrel, for example, is responsible for one third of all losses.

Is it true, that …?
Penguins don't freeze, do they? Almost! The plumage of the penguin is very fine, extremely dense and they have an insulating layer of air between the feathers. They secrete an oily like substance from their uropygial gland for this purpose, which additionally serves to protect their fluffy plumage from water externally. Should the birds get cold however, they crowd together tightly in their group.