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King Penguin Colony South Georgia Island

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The king penguin is the second largest species of penguin, smaller, but somewhat similar in appearance to the emperor penguin. There are two subspecies: A. p. patagonicus and A. p. halli; patagonicus is found in the South Atlantic and halli in the South Indian Ocean (at the Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, and Heard Island and McDonald Islands) and at Macquarie Island.

King penguins mainly eat lanternfish, squid, and krill. On foraging trips, king penguins repeatedly dive to over 100 meters (300 ft) and have been recorded at depths greater than 300 meters (1,000 ft). Predators of the king penguin include giant petrels, skuas, the snowy sheathbill, the leopard seal, and the orca.

King penguins breed on the Subantarctic islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica, South Georgia, and other temperate islands of the region.

The king penguin stands at 70 to 100 cm (28 to 39 in) tall and weighs from 9.3 to 18 kg (21 to 40 lb). Although female and male king penguins are monomorphic they can be separated by their calls. Males are also slightly larger than females. The mean body mass of adults from Marion Island was 12.4 kg (27 lb) for 70 males and 11.1 kg (24 lb) for 71 females. Another study from Marion Island found that the mean mass of 33 adults feeding chicks was 13.1 kg (29 lb). The king penguin is approximately 25% shorter and weighs around 1/3rd less than the emperor penguin.

At first glance, the king penguin appears very similar to the larger, closely related emperor penguin, with a broad cheek patch contrasting with surrounding dark feathers and yellow-orange plumage at the top of the chest. However, the cheek patch of the adult king penguin is a solid bright orange whereas that of the emperor penguin is yellow and white, and the upper chest tends to be more orange and less yellowish in the king species. Both have colorful markings along the side of their lower mandible, but these tend towards pink in emperor penguins and orange in king penguins. Emperor and king penguins typically do not inhabit the same areas in the wild, with the possible exception of vagrants at sea, but the two can readily be distinguished from one another by the king’s longer, straighter bill, larger flippers, and noticeably sleeker body. The juvenile king penguin with its long bill and heavy dark brown down are completely different in appearance from the mostly grey emperor chick with its distinctive black and white mask. Once molted of its brown juvenile plumage, the king chick resembles the adult but is somewhat less colorful.

king penguins often breed on the same large, circumpolar islands as at least half of all living penguins, but it is easily distinguished from other species by its much larger size and taller frame, distinctive colorful markings, and grizzled sooty-greyish rather than blackish back. Wikipedia

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An image of a King Penguin Colony South Georgia Island

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