Fun Royal Penguin Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 10, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
Adorable fun facts about the Royal Penguin.

Royal penguin is a localized variant of the Macaroni penguin. They are found in the southern hemisphere, in the Antarctic region, near the Macquarie island which is near Bishop and Clerk islands, and Campbell Islands till the southern part of New Zealand. The royal penguins got its name due to the head feathers that make them look very majestic.

In general, penguins are known to be cute and have often been used in major movies like 'Madagascar' or 'Happy Feet'. But like all other breeds of penguins, Royal Penguins are also in a very precarious situation.

They are even more threatened since they are localized in one island. If you want to know a few amazing facts about these cute waddling birds, read on.


Royal Penguin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a royal penguin?

They are the tallest crested penguin, royal penguins are a kind of flightless bird.

What class of animal does a royal penguin belong to?

Royal penguin belongs to the  Aves. They belong to the family Spheniscidae and order Sphenisciformes.

How many royal penguins are there in the world?

There are 1,700,000 royal penguins on earth currently.

Where does a royal penguin live?

They prefer beaches that have little grass so the terrestrial biomes are savanna or grassland. Royal penguins live on Macquarie Island, near Bishop and Clerk islands.

It is located in the Pacific Ocean present between New Zealand and the Antarctic region. Macquarie is referred to as the main island on which royal penguins colonize and also breed, they have been seen in Australia, New Zealand, and the Antarctic region as well.

What is a royal penguin's habitat?

Royal penguin habitat is terrestrial.

Who do royal penguins live with?

Like most sea birds, royal penguins live in colonies.

How long does a royal penguin live?

The lifespan of most penguins in the wild (average) is 15-20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Royal penguins are observed to nest on beaches or slopes with grass and vegetation. These penguins are seen to only breed in and around Macquarie Island, a small piece of land in between Australia and Antarctica.

Like most of the other seabirds, they live in colonies, nesting within scrapes on the ground up to a mile inland. The royal penguins are usually a monogamous species.

The breeding season starts in September and they lay their eggs around October. The males arrive in the very first week of October to claim the former site of their nest. A week later, the female comes in.

They usually reach sexual maturity when they become independent. Hence, breeding takes place at around age five.

Intruders are pecked and the waving wings are seen as an alarm. It shows that intruders can be close by.

Their nests have depressions present in grass and sand and are surrounded by grass. They normally lay two eggs in a gap of four to six days. The first egg of the two eggs is usually the smaller one and is often discarded before it reaches its incubation.

Hence usually a chick is reared among the two eggs. The egg is kept warm by the parents for near about 35 days which is also a 12-day shift by both the parents.

Once the egg is hatched, the male royal penguins stand as a guard for 10–20 days while the female nourishes the chick with food daily. If the female penguin doesn't return, the chick usually dies.

What is their conservation status?

Royal penguins are noted as Near Threatened. They are found in Macquarie Island, so any natural calamities or human disasters could significantly impact their numbers.

Royal Penguin Fun facts

What do royal penguins look like?

Royal Penguin walking in shallow water on a beach

Royal penguins have black sides and a black crown, and a white patch present on their rump. The front side is white.

During the non-breeding season, the dorsal (side) feathers of the royal penguins turn dull in color which is bronze. Once the mating season arrives and they breed, they molt, and then, new feathers appear of the color dark blue or black.

They have a white face and a white throat that merges with the ventral portions. On rare occasions, Royal penguins might have a tinge of light black or grey color to the cheek and also the throat region.

Royal penguins have yellow feathers, orange, and black crests that extend to behind the eye. They look very similar to Macaroni penguins.

How cute are they?

Royal penguins are extremely cute to look at. They waddle their way around and the chicks look extremely adorable owing to their little size and button eyes.

How do they communicate?

Royal penguins communicate by a technique called vocalization and also by performing physical behaviors called displays. Through these techniques, they communicate information about partner and chick recognition, nesting territories, nest relief rituals, mating information, and defense against intruders.

How big is a royal penguin?

Royal penguins are also the tallest of crested penguins standing at about 2.2–2.6 ft, which is a little more than twice of Fiorlord penguins 1.97 ft long. Males are often larger than females.

How fast can a royal penguin move?

Royal penguins can reach a speed of 20 mph.

How much does a royal penguin weigh?

The royal penguins weigh around 6.6–17.6 lb (3–8 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Adult male penguins are commonly called cocks and adult female penguins go by the name hens.

What would you call a baby royal penguin?

Newborn royal penguins are called chicks or nestlings. However, the most common and widely used term is a chick.

What do they eat?

Royal penguins feed on sea animals. Their diet consists of crustaceans (mostly krill), small fishes, and squid which are hunted by pursuit-diving at depths of around 50-150 ft. The diet is different in different colonies.

Are they dangerous?

The royal penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) is not known to be an aggressive kind of animal. They are peace-loving species who keep it to themselves.

Would they make a good pet?

Penguins are not considered to be pet animals. In fact, because of their particular and restricted habitat, they are not even found in any zoos.

Did you know...

Royal penguin's diet includes mainly two species of krill: Euphausia valentini (approximately40% by weight) and some Thysanoessa gregatia (approximately 10% by weight).

Royal penguin predators include black rats, elephant seals, skuas, sharks.

Naming the royal penguin

Royal penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) is one of the crested penguins. They had yellow plumes and feathers on their heads. The German zoologist Hermann Schlegel gave them their name. Eudyptes means ‘good diver’. It is derived from the Greek (eús) meaning ‘good’ and (dýtis) meaning ‘diver’.

Is the royal penguin endangered?

According to IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), royal penguins are considered Near Threatened. However, several laws have been imposed, in addition to international treaties, to protect these birds.

Royal penguin population numbers are currently going quite strong, but since they breed only in a specific area, it makes their population vulnerable. If any devastating natural calamity occurs, it could threaten the entire population.

In the past, these penguins were also hunted for their oils.

In 1905, when the industry was thriving, a plant was established in Macquarie Island which was extracting oil for lamps from 2000 penguins at a time, with each penguin responsible for about half a liter of oil. Currently, the population stands at 850,000 pairs, about 1,700,000 individuals.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our royal penguin coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana Kantam picture

Spandana KantamBachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Acharya Nagarjuna University. She has a passion for writing and enjoys reading crime and thriller novels while listening to RnB music in her free time.

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