Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

Little Blue Penguin

Scientific name:

 Eudyptula minor

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 At risk - declining

Mainland status:

 Widespread and locally common 

Size:  40cm, 1.1kg


 Oldest recorded 19+ years in NZ


 July - December


 Small fish, squid and octopus 

Now officially named the 'little penguin', this is the smallest of all penguins at just 40 cms. They are steely blue above and satin white below. The blueness of their backs makes the old and more popular name difficult to discard.

Blue penguins frequent the mainland coastal waters of both North and South Islands and many offshore islands around New Zealand. They spend all day out at sea fishing, often solitary, mostly about five metres below the surface. They feed on small fish, squid, and octopus when available. At night they come ashore and leave at dawn to go back fishing. When ashore they often wander as far as 500m inland and over 200m above sea level on some islands. On Tiritiri Matangi they have been seen at night up by the lighthouse.

The little blue penguin has a variety of calls, mewing notes (like a cat), loud screams, trumpeting and deep toned growls. They are most vocal at their breeding colonies and when they come ashore at dusk. 

Blue penguins go through a complete body moult at the breeding site once their chicks have fledged. This moulting period lasts for 10-18 days and occurs some time between December and March. At this time the penguin cannot go to sea and therefore doesn't eat, having spent 2-3 weeks beforehand fattening up.

Find out more about the blue penguin at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by: Anne Mein © (top right) and Peter Craw © (bottom left)
References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.