List of little penguin colonies

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This is a list of little penguin colonies notable for their size, location or public profile. It is not exhaustive. Some little penguin (Eudyptula minor) colonies are particularly large, well-known, or are tourist attractions; even small colonies in urban areas may attract tours. Little penguins, also known as little blue or fairy penguins, exhibit site fidelity to their breeding colonies and nesting sites over successive years. They live year-round in large or small colonies, with each individual breeding pair forming a burrow, or using caves or crevices between rocks, in which to raise their chicks (of which two are born at a time, usually about two days apart).

Although many breed in large, well-defined colonies, the penguins also occur in scattered locations along long stretches of coastline.[1] In New Zealand numerous beaches, bays and coves are host to penguin colonies. Colony sizes may range from thousands to just a few nests, with some penguins ranging into urban areas. The total population is estimated to lie between 350,000 and 600,000 individuals. Most of these breed on offshore islands where they are not subject to predation by introduced mammals, nor to regular disturbance by people, and are relatively secure. Many colonies on the Australian mainland, as well as on the coasts of Tasmania and New Zealand’s North and South Islands, are in decline.[2]


Little penguins typically return to their colonies to feed their chicks after sunset, which is when they are most visible to people and where tourist attention is focussed. Little penguins attract large numbers of tourists in Australia, and are important in several local economies. However, penguin tourism can also affect penguin breeding success through causing adults to desert nests and chicks to receive fewer meals.[3]


Little penguins were once common on the mainland of Australia but are now primarily confined to various small islands and isolated coastal locations due to predation by introduced feral and domestic cats, foxes or, in New Zealand, stoats and ferrets, and stray dogs on the mainland. The birds and their nests are also preyed on by native animals such as goannas and, in the vicinity of the colonies at sea, by fur seals.[4][5][6] Where roads pass close to colonies, they may be killed by cars.

Due to their diminutive size, the introduction of predators and the spread of human settlement, some colonies have been reduced in size by as much as 98% in just a few years. An example is the small colony on Middle Island, near Warrnambool, Victoria, which was reduced from 5,000 penguins to 100; a subsequent conservation management program using Maremma sheepdogs to guard the colony and deter foxes allowed numbers to start to recover.[7]


Little penguin habitats in Australia
A little penguin walking

Jervis Bay Territory[edit]

Colonies in the Jervis Bay Territory include:

New South Wales[edit]

Colonies in New South Wales include:

South Australia[edit]

Fairy penguin in burrow on Lipson Island, Spencer Gulf, South Australia

Colonies in South Australia include:


Image of the coast of Bicheno, Tasmania. The growth of red lichen gives these rocks a red color

Colonies in Tasmania include:

Tasmanian Bass Strait islands


The coast of Philip Island

Colonies in Victoria, Australia include:

Western Australia[edit]

Colonies in Western Australia include:

New Zealand[edit]

Colonies in New Zealand include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marchant, S.; & Higgins, P.J. (Coordinators) (1990). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 1: Ratites to Ducks. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp. 246–259. ISBN 0-19-553068-3. 
  2. ^ "Little (Blue or Fairy) Penguin". About Penguins. International Penguin Conservation Work Group. 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2012-09-17. 
  3. ^ Bool, N.M.; Page, B.; Goldsworthy, S.D. (2007). What is causing the decline of Little Penguins on Granite Island, South Australia? (PDF). SARDI Research Report No.217. Adelaide: South Australian Research and Development Institute. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Dann, Peter. "Penguins: Little (Blue) Penguins - Eudyptula minor". International Penguin Conservation Work Group. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  5. ^ a b Grabski, Valerie (2009). "Little Penguin - Penguin Project". Penguin Sentinels/University of Washington. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  6. ^ "BBC - Science & Nature -Sea Life - Fact Files: Little/Fairy penguin". bbc. July 2005. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  7. ^ "Middle Island Maremma Project". Warrnambool. Warrnambool City Council. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  8. ^ "Little Penguin". Booderee National Park: Birdwatching. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Australia. 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  9. ^ Barry, Victor (2011-06-00). "Broughton Island’s recovery is well under way". A Question of Balance: summary of radio interview of Nicholas Carlile by Ruby Vincent. 2SER Community Radio Station. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  10. ^ Anon (2000). Endangered Population of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) at Manly (PDF). Recovery Plans. Sydney: NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. ISBN 0731362608. 
  11. ^ "Little Penguins". Montague Island NSW. Montague Island Tours. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  12. ^ "Lion Island Little Penguin Threat Abatement" (PDF). Project overview. NSW Environmental Trust. 2007-04-00. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  13. ^ Barton, D. (1978). Breeding Fairy Penguins at Twofold Bay, NSW. Corella 2,7 1-72.
  14. ^ Anon (1992). Eagles Claw Nature Reserve Plan of Management (PDF). Eden: NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. ISBN 0-7305-7338-9. 
  15. ^ Priddel, D., Carlile, N. & Wheeler, R., 2008. Population size, breeding success and provenance of a mainland colony of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor). EMU, 108, pp.35–41.
  16. ^ a b c Wiebkin, A. S. (2011) Conservation management priorities for little penguin populations in Gulf St Vincent. Report to Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2011/000188-1. SARDI Research Report Series No.588. 97pp.
  17. ^ "Goose Island Aquatic Reserve" Government of South Australia. (Accessed 2013-12-13)
  18. ^ Williamson, Brett (2012-08-14). "Granite Island penguin population in possible peril". 891 ABC Adelaide. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 
  19. ^ "Kingscote Community Penguin Census". Kangaroo Island. Department of Natural Resources, South Australia. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 
  20. ^ "Birds & Bees". 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  21. ^ Donato Environmental Services (2012). Port Spencer Stage 1 Public Environmental Report, Volume 4 of 5, Appendix J. Adelaide: Centrex Metals Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9872794-3-9
  22. ^ Lloyd, Graham (2011-03-26). "Fate of island penguins appears sealed as hunted become hunters". News. The Australian. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Species factsheet: Eudyptula minor". BirdLife Data Zone. BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  24. ^ Anon (2002). Small North-East Islands Management Plan. Hobart: Parks and Wildlife Service. 
  25. ^ Stevenson, Caryn; Woehler, Eric J. (2007). "Population decreases in Little Penguins Eudyptula minor in south-eastern Tasmania, Australia, over the past 45 years" (PDF). Marine Ornithology 35: 71–76. 
  26. ^ "Penguins". Discover Burnie. Burnie City Council. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  27. ^ a b c Brothers, Nigel; Pemberton, David; Pryor, Helen; & Halley, Vanessa. (2001). Tasmania’s Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart. ISBN 0-7246-4816-X
  28. ^ Hofer, Tobias N. (2008). Marine Pollution: New Research. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. p. 344. Retrieved September 4, 2012.  ISBN 9781604562422
  29. ^ St Kilda Penguins
  30. ^ Moodle, Claire (2014-09-22). "Saving the penguins". ABC. Retrieved 2014-11-10. 
  31. ^ Cannell, Belinda (2011). Potential impacts of the Mangles Bay Marina Based Tourist Precinct on Little Penguins. Western Australia: Oceanica. p. 4. 
  32. ^ "Wildlife viewing". Esperance Island Cruises & Woody Island Eco Stays. Retrieved 2014-12-03. 
  33. ^ Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
  34. ^ a b Flemming, S.A. (2013) "[1]". In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online
  35. ^ Dann, Peter (September 1994). "The Abundance, Breeding Distribution, and nest sites of Blue Penguins in Otago, New Zealand" (PDF). Volume 41, Part 3. Journal of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  36. ^ Pohatu Penguins