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King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus
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This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

Distribution and population
The King Penguin can be found on the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia (Georgias del Sur) off the coast of South America, including the coast of southern Argentina during winter. Colonies are also present on Marion Island and Price Edward Island (South Africa), the Kerguelen Islands and Crozet Island (French Southern Territories), and Macquarie Island (Australia) in the Southern Ocean (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Trend justification
This species is increasing in number at many colonies. It has re-colonised areas where it was previously exterminated (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

This marine species spends much of its time near breeding areas. It feeds mostly upon fish but will also take cephalopods. It captures prey by means of pursuit-diving, swimming at up to 12 km/h normally no deeper than 50 m. It arrives at colonies to breed between September and November, forming colonies on flattish beaches with no snow or ice which normally have easy access to the sea (del Hoyo et al. 1992)

del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Sargatal, J. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Fishpool, L. D. C.; Evans, M. I. 2001. Important Bird Areas in Africa and associated islands: priority sites for conservation. Pisces Publications and BirdLife International, Newbury and Cambridge.

Le Bohec, C.; Durant, J. M.; Gauthier-Clerc, M.; Stenseth, N. C.; Young-Hyang Park; Pradel, R.; Grémillet, D.; Gender, J.-P.; Le Maho, Y. 2008. King Penguin population threatened by Southern Ocean warming. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105(7): 2493-2497.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Aptenodytes patagonicus. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - King penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Spheniscidae (Penguins)
Species name author Miller, 1778
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 24,900 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species