King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus




King penguins are one of only two penguin species that do not build nests. They also are very social creatures. Colourful ornaments in King penguin may be used to directed potential mates , health, and fighting ability. King penguins also incorporate movements and behaviors into courtship rituals. Males will produce trumpeting calls and stretch to their maximum height to attract mates. Once a female accepts, the two will stand facing each other an engage in a stretching, calling ,and bobbing.(Aubin, T., P. Jouventin. 1998.)


King penguins nest in dense colonies where pairs vigorously defend a small territory of approx. 0.5 m2 during incubation and brooding (Côté 2000). Aggressive behaviour varies significantly depending on territory location but both sexes are equally aggressive.The penguins compete for positions in the center of the colonies, and these birds are more aggressive and more successful at reproduction than ones further out.(Cote. 2000;)

Sexual Behavior

Breeding behavior of King penguin is unique exhibited by the males trumpet-like song . The who male will also display variety of courting behaviors such as extending the head up to maximum height, bowing proudly to attract a female. Females lay their eggs during the summer months and males and females alternate incubating. King penguins do not build nests; they incubate the eggs by carrying them on top of the feet under the belly. Mated pairs will take turn every 10 days and alternate incubating the egg for 50-60 days. This species will raise 2 chicks only every 3 years . King penguins have the longest brooding period of any penguin.( Marine Bio;Bried, J., F. Jiguet, P. Jouventin. 1999)

Social and interspecific behavior

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Adult King penguins may be eaten by various seals or killer whales. Eggs and young chicks preyed upon various seagull bird species, in particular Skuas, and also to giant petrels. (Marine Bio)

Recommended Citation

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: