Well, maybe not quite. But it
seems that way as we watched mated pairs of King Penguins stroll around
the periphery of the colony at Volunteer Point, a "day trip" from
Stanley, the largest city in the Falkland Islands.
The King Penguin is the second
largest Penguin species after the Emperor Penguin, standing just over
three feet in height and 30-35 lbs in weight.
Most King Penguins can be found on the sub Antarctica islands which includes the Falkland Islands, the Prince Edward Islands and South Georgia Island.
Volunteer Point is home to the largest King Penguin colony in the Falkand Islands, with 400 mated pairs.
|King Penguins males are usually larger and
heavier than the females, but sometimes it is difficult to tell the
The King Penguin has a stately, upright posture and it was not uncommon to see several standing closely together as if in conference. At an appointed time (known only to them), the group would walk together to another nearby location and the "conference" would convene once again.
|A most common sight was a mated pair
strolling around the colony... one closely behind the other.
|Quite often they would be perfectly in step with each other, but not always.|
|Before the stroll had progressed for very
long, a mating ritual would ocur. The two would begin to rub
|Leaning into each other, the two would
begin a slow circling dance, head to head.
|The dance would continue.....
|.....for several minutes.
|Then, what appears to be the female, would
a firm grip on the head of the male.
|The male would then returns the favor,
the chagrin of the female...
|....who appeared to be ready to continue
|However, the male was insistent....
the female would finally give in to his attentions.
not for long. And the stroll would continue.
all goes well and the mating is successful, the result is a single egg.
King Penguins do not build nests. Instead the single egg is incubated
on their feet. The male and female take turns with the incubation which
lasts from 50 to 60 days.
|Chicks are totally dependent upon their parents for food and warmth. The parents will feed their chick by eating fish and regurgitating the partly digested food into the chick's mouth.|
will spend the next 30 to 40 days perched on the feet of their
parents, before they become capable of being on their own for any
amount of time.
Eventually, chicks will form groups called creches, and will spend their days together while their parents are out foraging for food.
It will be 14-16 months before the King Penguin chick ia actually ready to go to sea and provide for its self.
Because of the long breeding cycle, King Penguin colonies tend to be continuosly occupied.