In The Wild
King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) are found on sub-Antarctic islands. They are closely related to Emperor penguins, which live in the Antarctic and are larger than King penguins.
Both species lay only one egg and incubate it on top of their feet, but unlike the Emperor penguin, both the male and female King penguin will share incubation duties and take care of the chick when it hatches.
King penguin chicks are very unusual-looking for the first year of their lives, as they have very shaggy, brown feathers and can appear to be even larger than their parents.
King penguins eat small fish and squid. They normally dive to 50 metres, however they can dive very deeply to hunt their prey—sometimes up to 300 metres, far deeper than any other penguin species other than Emperor penguins.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, they were heavily hunted for oil, blubber, eggs and skins. However following the ban of commercial hunting, the king penguin populations have bounced back, with most breeding locations becoming home to large, secure colonies.
In more recent years, with increased human activity around the sub-Antarctic islands, there is an increasing risk of the introduction of a disease, pest or predator that could do a lot of harm to the breeding populations.