Object of the Month – May 2011

Fairy PenguinFairy Penguin

Eudyptula minor

My two year old daughter is obsessed with penguins and asked me if I had one in the Herbert’s natural history collections. I had a look and found we have a Fairy Penguin specimen.

The fairy penguin is native to Australia and New Zealand. They are also known as little blue penguins due to the colour of the feathers on their backs. This is smallest of all the penguin family with adults growing to between 20 and 30 centimetres tall.

Fairy penguins spend the day out at sea hunting for small fish and crustaceans. They hunt in groups, called ‘rafts’. Like most penguins they swallow their food whole. At night they return to the colony. They nest in burrows or rock crevices.  Fairy peguins mate for life and both parents sit on the eggs and nurture the young.

Their natural predators include fur seals, orcas and tiger sharks. The average life span is 6 ½ years though some individuals in captivity have reached the grand old age of 25!

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Posted on 17/05/2011, in Collections, Object of the Month and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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