King Penguins (Aptenodytes halli), Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean, possession of Australia. Macquarie Island is World Heritage Listed.
Canon EOS, zoom lens.
(Featured in A Wilderness Somewhere.)
The King Penguin is the second largest species of penguin at about 90 cm (3.0 ft) tall and weighing 11 to 16 kg (24 to 35 lb), second only to the Emperor Penguin. Like all penguin species, it has a streamlined body to minimise drag while swimming, webbed feet to propel more force when swimming, and wings that have become stiff, flat flippers. There is little difference in plumage between the male and female, although the latter are slightly smaller. The upper parts features of the King Penguin include a silvery-grey back with a blackish-brown head decorated with ear patches of bright golden-orange. The 12–13 cm (4¾–5 in) black bill is long and slender, and curved downwards like a banana peel. The lower mandible bears a striking pink or orange-coloured mandibular plate.
The chick is first covered with brown-grey down, before moulting into a thick, woolly brown coat borne until around 10–12 months of age. Their mandibular plates are black until the moult into immature plumage. An immature bird will have white to yellow, rather than orange-tinged markings, and grey tips to its black brown feathers. It moults into adult plumage after reaching two years of age.
King Penguins live for an average of 15 to 20 years in the wild.