Little penguin, fairy penguin, little blue penguin
These Australasian penguins are the smallest of the family.
Height: 40cm (15in), Weight: 0.9kg (2lb).
The forehead, crown and dorsal surface of this penguin is indigo blue in colour, the chest and throat are lighter. Chicks are blue grey on the underside and brown on top.
Little penguins are found on the shores of Australia and New Zealand including the Chatham Islands and Tasmania. They breed during spring and summer on offshore islands and less commonly along the mainland coast to avoid predators.
Their diet consists of fish and crustaceans.
These penguins live socially in pairs within a colony for much of the year. They inhabit burrows in coastal dunes and go to sea to forage for food each day, returning at dusk. They are often only seen when they are active outside the burrow at night and are regularly heard making contact calls. There is thought to be a population of about a million birds. Little penguins suffer nest predation from non-native mammals like rats, stoats and weasels.
They breed in August to February and lay two eggs over a period of 3-5 days. Both parents incubate the egg and they take it in turns to feed the chick once it has hatched.
The little penguin is not listed as endangered.
The subspecies, the White-Flippered penguin, is restricted to the Banks Peninsula, Motunau Island and the North Canterbury coast and is considered to be endangered.