Ninety-five centimeters tall and weighing around 15 kilos, the King is the second largest penguin in the world. Only the aptly named Emperor Penguin is larger. (The largest living individual ever recorded weighed almost 45 kilos). Disguised by woolly brown down, King chicks look so unlike their sleek parents that 19th century naturalists originally thought juveniles and adults were separate species. Unlike Emperors, who live on pack ice, Kings occupy bare ground with sparse vegetation on many of the islands surrounding the sub-Antarctic, between 46 and 55 degrees south. The bird’s breeding colonies range from 30 individuals to a mob of 39,000 breeding pairs. Kings are world-class divers; they can stay under for up to 10 minutes hunting cephalopods, small fish, and squid.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2011 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.
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