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King Penguin

The King penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second largest species of penguin, next to the Emperor penguin.

Size: King penguins are about three feet tall and weigh about 40 pounds.

Life Span: The average lifespan of the King Penguin is 15 to 20 years in the wild.

Color: King Penguins are black-backed and white-bellied with a dark head, an orange oval along the side of the face and a neon yellow patch decorating the top of the breast at the base of the neck. Also, an orange strip extends along the lower half of the beak.

Continent: Antarctica

Range: Falkland Islands, Heard Island, and Marion Island.

Habitat: This species occurs in the waters and on the shores of vegetation-covered islands above the Antarctic. Much of the year these islands are muddy and free of snow and ice and lapped by temperate waters.

Food: King penguins eat small fish, and squid.

Reproduction: King penguins breed in September. The pair shares responsibilty of the egg 24 hours per day. They bond in a monogamous pair each breeding season. One egg is laid at a time and both pass it back and forth to each other`s toes where it is warmed between the belly and the feet for sixty days. Once the baby hatches, it grows rapidly and is full size within a few weeks.

Fun Facts: Penguins are flightless birds with feathers lush enough to often be mistaken for fur. These feathers are fully waterproof. They have a clumsy, shuffling gait on land but breathtaking acrobatic agility and grace in the sea. Swimming penguins often appear to be flying through the water.

Conservation: Since these birds live on land and sea where little human activity or settlement occurs, their numbers are secure. However, they are susceptible to the effects of ocean pollution and are influenced by the changing shape of the ice flows of the Antarctic coast, some that are melting due to global warming.