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Little penguins in NSW: Tiny seabirds on an epic mission

An adorable waddle, enviable swimming skills, dignified outfits and romantic natures give penguins charisma and charm in spades. But there’s even more to our tiniest penguin than you think. Little penguins – you might know them better as fairy penguins – are the smallest of the world’s 18 penguin species. These teeny water-loving birds travel all across the southern coasts of Australia, from Perth to Coffs Harbour, and are the only species of penguin to breed on the Australian mainland. An adult little penguin with its hatchlings. Photo credit: Nicholas Carlile/DCCEEW In NSW, the only mainland breeding colony is in a secluded Manly cove in Sydney Harbour National Park. With those kinds of views, who could blame them? Numbers of little penguins in the colony have sadly dwindled in the last few decades, so this NSW colony is classified as endangered and needs extra help from all of us to keep on thriving. Little penguins face a number of threats. On the mainland, dogs, cats and foxes pose the greatest threat by attacking the adults and chicks. The most obvious difference between little penguins – who go by the scientific name of Eudyptula minor – and other penguin species is their size. Wearing tiny slate-blue tuxedos, they stand up to 35cm tall and weigh around 1kg when they’re fully grown. Compare this to the world’s largest penguin – the emperor penguin – which can stand up to 110cm tall and weigh in at 30kg, and you’ll get a clearer idea of how pint-sized these guys are.

Little penguins Eudyptula Minor Photo Credit: Stuar Cohen / DCCEEW
Photo Information Stuart Cohen / DCCEEW

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