Trip 7: The New Zealand …. The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony: Post 8

From: …… an AWESOME website !!

A three hour drive south of Christchurch International Airport and 1½ hours North of Dunedin, the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is a natural place to stop for a break.

Situated just 5 Minutes from the centre of town, the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is one of the easiest places in New Zealand to see the little blue penguin. 

Did you know?

Blue Penguins normally live to around 8-10 years. The oldest penguin at the OBPC lived to 21 years old

Blue Penguins can raise up to 4 chicks per breeding season (in 2 different clutches)

Blue penguins are one of only a few species of penguin capable of producing more than one clutch of eggs per breeding season

Blue penguins are the smallest penguin in the world stand 30cm (11.8 inches) tall

Blue penguins swim up to 50km per day during breeding season to keep their chicks well fed

The blue penguin is also known as the little penguin, fairy penguin and Korora in Maori

“Fledging” is the term used when chicks leave their nest

Penguin chicks will fledge after 7-8 weeks

Blue penguins excrete excess salt from their food through special glands above their eyes

Blue penguins have a range of calls to recognise each other, claim and defend territory

Blue Penguins come ashore in groups called rafts. This may be just a few penguins or over 100

Incubation of eggs takes up to 36 days

Blue penguins have a range of calls to recognise each other, claim and defend territory

To cool down after swimming, little blues ruffle their feathers and hold their flippers up away from their body

Blue Penguins are only active on land at night

519 eggs were laid during the 2017-18 breeding season

Blue penguins “waterproof” the outer part of their feathers by dipping their beak into a gland near the tail and rubbing it through their feathers

While the outer part of the feathers acts as a “windbreaker” and is waterproofed, the inner part of the feather is downy and traps a layer of insulating air

Blue Penguins have a number of predators at sea, including sharks, sea-lions and leopard seals

Blue penguins have a hook on the end of their bill and spiny spikes on their tongue which point towards the back of their mouth to help hold and swallow slippery prey

While penguins come ashore in groups called “rafts”, when at sea they normally forage for food as individuals

Blue penguins can swim up to 8km per hour

For two weeks between Jan and March, penguins will stay ashore continuously for around 2 weeks during their annual moult

When foraging at sea, blue penguins staying under the water only 20-30 seconds at a time

The penguins dive an average of 800 times a day when foraging at sea

As well as waterproofing feathers, penguins are also kept warm by a layer of fat under the skin

While nesting, little blues face threats from a number of predators including dogs, cats, rats, ferrets and stoats