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Penguins 101: Royal Penguins 10 Fun Facts
Not to be confused with the similarly named King or Emporer penguins, which are of a different genus, the Royal Penguin is a crested penguin of the genus Eudyptes that inhabits the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island and adjacent islands. Very closely related to the macaroni penguin, they have the sulphur-yellow crests of the other crested penguins. Hello, and welcome to Animal Facts, the channel with the oddly obvious name. Today we discuss Eudyptes schlegeli, the Royal Penguin. Let’s get started! Wait, before we get started take a moment to subscribe to get more fun fauna facts. If you’d like to see us cover your favorite animal, let us know in the comments below. Now we present Royal Penguin Facts for Kids and adults too.
10. The Royal Penguin owes its scientific name, Eudyptes schlegeli, to the German zoologist Hermann Schlegel. His distinguished career as an ornithologist and herpetologist resulted in several species sharing his name, which I’ll list on screen, because words…. lots of big words…
OK, since this isn’t the video I’ll list them here:
- Eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii), a pit viper
- False gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii), a crocodilian
- Giant sharkminnow (Osteochilus schlegelii), a fish
- Red-headed reed snake (Calamaria schlegeli), a nonvenomous snake
- Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli), a crested penguin
- Schlegel’s adder (Aspidomorphus schlegelii), a venomous elapid snake
- Schlegel’s beaked blind snake (Rhinotyphlops schlegelii), a nonvenomous burrowing snake
- Schlegel’s forest skink (Sphenomorphus schlegeli), a lizard
- Schlegel’s green tree frog (Rhacophorus schlegelii), a shrub frog
9. There is some controversy over whether royal penguins are a subspecies of macaroni penguins. Individuals of the two groups have been known to interbreed, though this is a relatively rare occurrence. Indeed, other penguins have been known to form mixed-species pairs in the wild.
8. Royal penguins are mid-sized penguins but they rank amongst the larger crested ones. In many ways, they look similar to macaroni penguins but royals are up to 20% larger than macaronies and also tend to have white to pale grey faces while macaronies have black faces.
7. Royal penguins as a species are classified as near threatened by the IUCN, with high risk of endangerment in the wild. Historically, they were hunted for their oil and between 1870 and 1919 the government of Tasmania issued licenses for hunting them, with an average of 150,000 penguins being taken each year. At the peak of the industry in 1905, the plant established on Macquarie Island was processing 2000 penguins at a time, with each penguin only yielding about half a liter of oil. Since the end of penguin hunting on Macquarie, the numbers have climbed to 850,000 pairs.
6. Speaking of pairs, Royal penguins are monogamous and often form large colonies of birds, together with the closely related rockhopper penguins. The largest colony of Royal Penguins can be found at Hurd Point which consists of around 500,000 pairs.
5. Royal Penguins breeds on rocky slopes, beaches and in tussocks. Most birds build a small nest from pebbles and by scraping out some mud or sand, but many pairs are content with laying their two eggs on bare rock.
4. Royal penguins feed largely on krill, small shrimp-like crustaceans, the rest of their diet comprising of fish and squid. The parent birds regurgitate partially-digested food from their stomachs to feed their growing youngster. When it reaches some 70 days old, the chick will have fledged and can begin to fend for itself.
3. Royal penguins are migratory birds and outside of the breeding season are believed to spend their time in the southern seas between Australia and Antarctica. Their main breeding site is on Macquarie Island, situated roughly halfway between Tasmania and Antarctica, and managed by the Australian state of Tasmania.
2. The main predators of adult Royal Penguins are leopard seals but eggs and chicks are preyed upon by skuas, giant petrels and wekas.
1. All penguins are fantastic swimmers and the royal penguin is no exception. Royal penguins use their powerful flippers and streamlined bodies, aided by their webbed feet to soar through the water and are able to reach speeds of nearly 20mph. Royal penguins also dive to depths of up to 150m in order to catch food, with dives usually lasting for a few minutes.
Well, there ya have it, 10 noble facts about the Royal Penguin. Is your highness pleased? Let us know in the comments below. Also, please click that like button and subscribe for more fun fauna facts. If you’d like to help us keep the facts coming, consider becoming a Patron on Patreon. And as always, catch ya next time.
From Wikipedia: The royal penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) is a species of penguin, which can be found on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island and adjacent islands. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the royal penguin as near threatened. The scientific name commemorates the German zoologist Hermann Schlegel.
It is one of the crested penguins (a different genus from the similarly named king or emperor penguins). There is some controversy over whether royal penguins are a subspecies of macaroni penguins. Individuals of the two groups have been known to interbreed, though this is a relatively rare occurrence. Indeed, other penguins have been known to form mixed-species pairs in the wild.
They inhabit the waters surrounding Antarctica. Royals look very much like macaroni penguins but have a white face and chin instead of the macaronis’ black visage. They are 65–76 cm (26–30 in) long and weigh 3–8 kg (6.6–17.6 lb). Males are larger than females. Royal penguins breed only on Macquarie Island and, like other penguins, spend much of their time at sea, where they are assumed to be pelagic.
Royal penguins nest on beaches or on bare areas on slopes covered with vegetation. Like most seabirds they are colonial, nesting in scrapes on the ground up to a mile inland. The breeding season begins in September with laying starting in October. Most of the time, two eggs are laid, however, only one survives. The egg is kept warm by both parents for 35 days. This is done by rotating 12-day shifts. After hatching, the male watches out for the chick for 10 to 20 days and the female brings food for both of them. Around 20 days, the chicks will form a home for warmth and safety. The parents continue to feed it two to three times a day. When the chick is about 65 days old it will have its adult feathers and goes on its own.