a comprehensive resource of avian hand rearing techniques for captive bird populations

King Penguin

Aptenodytes patagonicus

Sphenisciformes - Spheniscidae - Penguins

King Penguin - Adult


King Penguin - AdultKing Penguin - AdultKing Penguin - Chick

Distribution: Falkland Islands, South Georgia.

Habitat: Marine and pelagic in subantarctic and low latitudes of Antarctic.

Diet: Mostly fish, some cephalopods.

Breeding: Colonial - no nest.

Clutch size: One egg incubated by both adults.

Incubation: 52 56 days.

Rearing: The young are fed by both sexes.

Fledge age: 10 - 13 months.

Maturity: 5 - 7 years.


Protocol from Birdland

View Birdland protocol file >

Protocol established 2008
Used on 2 individuals
Success rate 100.00%


Protocol used for at least 5 individuals with over 75% success 
Used by 2 or more institutions 
Points on minimizing imprinting 
Birds went on to produce fertile eggs 
Birds went on to successfully parent rear 

Warning points

Please keep us up-to-date and contact us with your own updates or new protocols for rearing the King Penguin.


Del Hoya, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. (1992). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol1. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Hand-rearing a King penguin chick Aptettodytes patagonica at Whipsnade Park. A. WHITE. International Zoo Yearbook. Vol 17. Pages 214 - 215

Techniques for propagating King and Emperor penguins Aptenodytes patagonica and A. forsteri at Sea World, San Diego. FRANK S. TODD. International Zoo Yearbook. Vol 26. Pages 110-124

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