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30 to 45cm in length when standing. Black to blue-grey above. White below.
Black bill. Feet a fleshy-pink with black soles.
The Little Penguin is the smallest of all penguins. It can be found along the south coast of Australia from Carnac Island in Western Australia through South Australia to Victoria and Tasmania. Most abundant in the Bass Strait. It can also be found in New Zealand. During the day, in small groups, small fish and squid are herded then snapped up and swallowed while under water. It can swim up to six kilometres per hour and dives to 40 metres. The penguin waits until nightfall to enter land to roost. The Little Penguin is the only penguin to breed in Australia. It breeds from August to February in Victoria and from April to December in Western Australia. Nest is sparse, made of sticks, grass and seaweed in short sandy burrows. Nests can also be made under man made structures such as houses, sheds and specially made penguin hides. Two to three eggs are laid and incubated for 35 to 40 days by both parents, while one sits on the eggs the other feeds at sea. Young fledge, and are ready to enter the sea, at around eight weeks. Mortaility is greatest within the first three months, however breeding birds live to around six years of age, although some have been known to last 20 years.