There are two recognized subspecies:
A. p. patagonicus
- The Falkland Islands and South Georgia.
A. p. halli - Indian Ocean and South Pacific.
Significant size variation
occurs between the island groups and there is evidence of genetic isolation
This is the second largest penguin and stand 85-95cm tall. Males weigh approximately16.5kg and females 14.3kg, but this vaires depending on stresses such as chick-rearing and time away from feeding grounds. Adult King penguins have an orange-yellow patch on the lower neck and gray-black backs. Very similar to Emperor Penguin which rarely found away from the Antarctic Continent. The tear-drop shaped ear patch is orange (rather than yellow on Emperor Penguin) and pinches to a close.
Chicks can be larger than the adults
and are browner. Prior to fledging, chicks are covered in thick brown fluff
and we called 'woolly penguins' by early explorers.
Where and When
Breed in large colonies on many sub-Antarctic islands (between 46° and 55°S). The most notable are on Crozet, Prince Edward Island, Kerguelen Island, South Georgia and Macquarie Island. The total breeding population is estimated to be over 1,500,000 pairs. Eggs are laid from November to April but colonies usually contain chicks of a variety of ages. Most adults commit to breeding two years out of every three. Each cycle takes at least 14 months.
Immatures and non-breeding adults disperse far from breeding localities, concentrating along the Antarctic Polar Front (where Antarctic and subantarctic surface waters meet), where they feed on squid and fish.
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