King penguin walking along the beach

King penguin

King penguins are extraordinary parents. While one parent is guarding the chick, the other makes a trip of up to 400km (250 miles) in search of food. When the young are old enough, they are left with other juveniles so both parents can search for food. The adults return to the sea during the winter, leaving the chicks alone, and they are rarely fed during this time.

Scientific name: Aptenodytes patagonicus

Rank: Species

Watch video clips from past programmes (5 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


The King penguin can be found in a number of locations including: Antarctica. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the King penguin distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Sphenisciformes
  6. Penguins
  7. Great penguins
  8. King penguin

BBC News about King penguin

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.