Act! Join Us Support Our Efforts
Ocean Conservation Marine Life Species Database Education+Careers Projects Contributors Photos Videos News Connect

Royal Penguins, Eudyptes schlegeli

Royal PenguinsRoyal PenguinsContribute Photos or VideoContribute Photos or Video

Description & Behavior

Royal penguins, Eudyptes schlegeli (Finsch, 1876), are often confused with macaroni penguins, however they can easily be distinguished from the macaroni and other crested penguins by their pale white or gray chins and faces. The crown of their heads, their backs and flippers are black and they have orange bills and yellow crests above their eyes.

World Range & Habitat

Royal penguins, Eudyptes schlegeli, are a migratory species that spends their time, outside of the breeding season, in the southern seas between Australia and Antarctica. They breed on Macquarie Island, which is between Tasmania and Antarctica, however smaller breeding colonies have also been recorded on New Zealand's South Island and Campbell Island.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Royal penguins, Eudyptes schlegeli, feed on krill, small fish and squid.

Life History

Royal penguins, Eudyptes schlegeli, reach sexual maturity around age one. Breeding season begins in September when male birds return to the colony to build nests, which are typically made of small stones and lined with grass. The females arrive about 2 weeks later and males begin the mating display of head swinging and calling. Females lay 2 eggs in October, with the 2nd typically the only one incubated (which lasts for 30-40 days). Colonies are large and often found near rockhopper penguin colonies. When the chick hatches, the male stands guard for up to 3 weeks while the female forages at sea. At the end of this phase the chicks need more food, therefore both parents forage while the chicks gather in small crèches. At about 2 months the chicks fledge.

Conservation Status & Comments

Royal penguins used to be hunted for their oil, however they are now protected. Royal penguins, Eudyptes schlegeli, are listed as Vulnerable D2 (VU) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:

A taxon is Vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

References & Further Research

Center for Biological Diversity: Penguins
Royal penguin, Eudyptes schlegeli - ARKive
Australian Antarctic Division - Royal penguins

Research Eudyptes schlegeli » Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS

Search for Royal Penguins » ARKive ~ ~ Bing ~ dmoz ~ Flickr ~ Google ~ NatureFootage ~ Picsearch ~ Wikipedia ~ Yahoo! Images ~ YouTube

Feedback & Citation

Start or join a discussion about this species below or send us an email to report any errors or submit suggestions for this page. We greatly appreciate all feedback!

~^~ surface

Help Protect and Restore Ocean Life

Help us protect and restore marine life by supporting our various online community-centered marine conservation projects that are effectively sharing the wonders of the ocean with millions each year around the world, raising a balanced awareness of the increasingly troubling and often very complex marine conservation issues that affect marine life and ourselves directly, providing support to marine conservation groups on the frontlines that are making real differences today, and the scientists, teachers and students involved in the marine life sciences.

Join us today or show your support with a monthly donation.

With your support, most marine life and their ocean habitats can be protected, if not restored to their former natural levels of biodiversity. We sincerely thank our thousands of members, donors and sponsors, who have decided to get involved and support the MarineBio Conservation Society.