King penguin facts for kids illuminate some of the useful and rarely known insights. King penguins are certainly the second largest penguin species after the Emperor penguin. These penguins have a gorgeous look in comparison to other penguin species. These birds are also recognized as ‘Wooly Penguins’. This bird loves to live in the cooler regions like Antarctica where the temperature is below zero degrees centigrade all the time.
King penguins are perfectly adapted to the intense cool climates which are why they are only found in the Polar Regions such as Antarctic and Greenland. These flightless birds are enclosed with thick layers of feathers with an estimate of 70 feathers per square. The external layers of penguins are water-resistant which prevents water to enter into the body otherwise their weight would be too much due to water. The chicks do not have oily layer which is why they could not swim until they reach maturity age. The physical appearance, diet, behavior and reproduction; all these and other significant king penguin facts are illustrated below:
King Penguin Facts for Kids
- Like emperor penguins, king penguins akin to live in cooler places like sub Antarctic islands including Georgia, Prince Edward, and Crozet, Southern Indian Ocean or the Southern West of Pacific Ocean; where the maximum temperature does not exceed 10oC.
- As far as physical outlook is concerned, these species are closely resembles with the emperor penguins.
- The females are heavier and greater in size as compared to the males.
- Unlike in any other penguin species, king penguins have orange color ear patches.
- The weight of an adult king penguin is about 15 – 17 kg (35 pounds)
- The length of these birds measures around 95 cm (3.1 ft).
- King penguins incubate (nurture) their eggs in the summer season for the reason that there is an ample food availability in summer as compared to in winter.
- Generally, males participate in the incubation process.
- While males are engaged in hatching eggs, females spread out in the open air and come back after 2 – 3 weeks. The distance they travel during these days is around 400 km (250 miles) approximately.
- Usually, males do not eat anything for 30 days.
- The hatching period lasts for only 55 days.
- After the chicks come up, males and females are responsible to look after them and keep them warm and the practice continues for about 1 month.
- The young penguins become an adult bird after 12 – 14 months.
- The average weight of king penguins measure around 15 kg (33 lb).
- Apparently, the young king penguins do not look like adults.
- There are more than 3 million breeding pairs of king penguins.
- Amongst all the other penguin species, these birds have few colorful feathers.
- These birds typically reside in colonies.
- Non-breeding king penguins do not stay in colonies.
- King penguin facts reveal some of the astonishing natures of these birds in that they don’t build nests or piles of stones.
- The female lays only two eggs annually. This egg is carried under the wing flap which is known as brood patch (above the feet).
- These birds transfer their egg to another partner after taking care for couple of weeks.
- These penguins lay eggs in January and November.
- The parents feed their young ones for 5 – 6 months.
- With chicks under their flap, the birds usually find places where there is no ice since they need to feed their chicks more often.
- The age of these species is 30 years in captivity.
- These penguins do not return to the same colony; as a result they apt to make new partner for each breeding cycle.
- The birds have the ability to dive no less than 50 m (160 ft) deep into the water. However, the diving is found to be 500m (1600ft) generally.
- They do not dive in deep water at night.
- With such a long physic, these birds easily slide through the water.
- Apart from few predators like leopard seals, sharks and the killer whales, the birds do have any significant killer.
- The king penguins breed only one time in a year.
- These birds do not migrate rather they stay in colony all throughout the year.
- King penguin facts show that there are thousands of species in a single colony.
- The time during which the birds stay under water is found to be 5 – 8 minutes.
King Penguin Diet Facts
- Most of the diet comprise of squid, krill, small fish and the lantern fish.
- Small crustaceans are also an essential part of their diet.
- They place their food 20 to 200 meters underground.
- These birds travel several hundred kilometers in search of prey.
- They prey in colonies and not alone.
King Penguin Reproduction
- While penguins turn out to be mature and energetic, they also become more sociable than before.
- For the reason that they dwell in colonies, the privacy of an individual bird does not last long.
- The bird tends to perform unusual activities and producing strange sounds in order to attract its partner.
How to Identify King Penguin?
You can identify king penguin from the following facts related to its habitat, physical appearance and behavior.
Apart from its unique appearance and exclusive characteristics, king penguin can easily be recognized by its habitat. They are more likely to be found in the sub Antarctic islands such as Marion Islands, Macquarie Islands, and Falkland Islands.
As far as the physical appearance is concerned, king penguin exhibits greenish-black throat color. The abdominal portion reflects pure white color.
The study carried out by the University of California which implies that the king penguin has an inimitable behavior. Unlike other species, these birds can go by couple of weeks without eating anything.
Unbelievable King Penguin’s Behavior
While going through the king penguin facts, a strange and unique behavioristic trait was identified in the king penguin which is illustrated as:
- A study was carried out by the Polairen Franc University under the program of ECOPHY to explore one strange king penguin’s behavior. The young penguins were observed to intake feeding from the adults who were not their actual parents. The process is known as allofeeding.
- When king penguins feed the juveniles, it was a temporary which in turn gives rise to the allofeeding. Allofeeding rarely involves full adoption of chicks.
- Allofeeders once feed the chicks; they don’t repeat the process; the new pair or an individual starts allofeeding (feeding by non-parents).
The researchers scrutinized more than 100 breeding pairs together with 70 chicks in one year. Allofeeding in king penguins is not an uncommon; however, there are five factors that affect allofeeding:
- The breeding conditions of the sample population were usual.
- The common cause of allofeeding was due to the low parental provisioning.
- If the chicks demand more feed, allofeeders did not respond.
- Allofeeders were mostly non-breeding king penguins even though breeding penguins infrequently allofed.
- Suboptimal parental care.