The king penguins attain the maturity age after 3 years although only a handful of these species will breed at this age. King penguins will breed for the first time after 6 years. They are monogamous birds as they do not change their mates. The fidelity between years is only around 29%.
The king penguins have a long breeding cycle ranging from 14 to 16 months. The reproductive cycle ranges from September to November in South Georgia. These birds will return to the sea after a period of three weeks or so.
The females lay one white egg. The weight of an egg measures around 300 grams. In the beginning, the egg is completely white but it will turn into pale greenish color with the passage of time.
The egg measures around 10 × 7 cm (3.9 × 2.8 in). The period of incubation lasts for 55 days, with both parents sharing incubation after an interval of 6 – 18 days. It will take 2 – 3 days to hatch king penguins eggs. While the female is engaged in incubating eggs the male will go out in search of food and vice versa. This is done in an alternate days of 3 – 7 days. This will continue for about 30 – 40 days before the chicks form crèches.
King penguins are known to form large colonies on Salisbury Plain and South Georgia Island, over 100,000 breeding pairs are congregated. Similarly, there are over 100,000 breeding pairs in St, Andrew’s Bay.
King Penguins Allofeeding | King Penguin Facts
King penguins are often involved in allofeeding. Allofeeding means feeding of offspring by adults other than their own parents. This is mainly because of the fact that these pelagic birds face extreme food shortages during reproduction; their parents leave their chicks in dense crèches. There are several factors that influence allofeeding:
The breeding conditions of the population were not regular.
Allofeeding takes place typically when parental provisioning was low.
Alloparents did not react to enhance begging by regurgitating more meals.
Allofeeders are primarily failed breeders; however, successful breeders are allofed sometimes.
A. p. patagonicus
A. p. halli