Video of the Day
Royal penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli) are sizable crested penguins found only in Australia. Their crests are bright and striking visually, with elements of black, yellow and orange. Royal penguins are physically similar to macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus), and were once even considered to be one and the same, species-wise. Royal penguins, however, have paler chins -- white, rather than black.
The upper portions of the royal penguin physique are black, while they are white underneath. Royal penguins usually weigh around 12 pounds, and are typically somewhere between 26 and 30 inches long. Males, for the most part, are just a little bigger than females. The basic royal penguin menu consists of sustenance such as squid, krill and wee fishes. In their native habitats, they generally survive for roughly 15 to 20 years. They're capable of reproducing once they are in the ballpark of 7 to 9 years in age.
Although royal penguins are Australian natives, their geographic scope within the vast nation is extremely small and limited. They do not reside at all on the mainland, but instead on Macquarie Island and Bishop and Clark Islets. Macquarie Island, for one, is relatively far away from the rest of its home country, situated roughly at the geographic meeting point between Antarctica and Australia. Some members of the species also, for one reason or another, end up in distant locations such as the South Sandwich Islands and Argentina, as well as on Australia's Tasmania.
Royal penguins typically inhabit grassy beaches. Nesting activities take place in flat environments with gritty, sandy and rugged textures, and ample tiny stones. They also gravitate toward uneven and jagged slopes -- think those that are heavily adorned in vegetation. Macquarie Island, one of the species' main roaming grounds, features a landscape that is full of teeny shrubs and rocks. For the bulk of the year, however, royal penguins remain in the waters just surrounding their island homes.
Potential Habitat Risks
These rapid swimmers have "vulnerable" population status, as of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species' 2012 determination. This is a result of their extremely restricted reproductive grounds, and the fragility and unpredictability that potentially arises because of that. However, the species' population is consistent and is not dropping or increasing in any noticeable fashion. Habitat problems occasionally are a danger to royal penguins, whether the presence of hazardous trash in the water or fishing activities.
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images