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Best time to travel to New Zealand

Kororā (Little Penguin) Breeding Season

Only 25 cm tall, lovely blue penguins waddle 1,5 km, swim 70 km and climb 300 m to lay eggs and feed their offsprings


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Blue penguin, known as kororā among New Zealanders, is renowned as the smallest penguin in the world. It grows up to 25 cm and does not weight more than 1 kg. Little penguins are distinguished by slate-blue plumage, white belly and paddle-like flippers which allow them to swim incredible distances underwater from 25 up to 70 km looking for dinner which is usually compounded of small fish, squids or crustaceans. At night after the strenuous day, they come onshore and sleep in the underground holes.

Kororās are extremely caring parents. Their breeding season begins in November and lasts through March, but long beforehand in May and June, they waddle nearly 1,5 km ashore to find a perfect nesting site. In the search for the suitable nursery, they may also climb 300 m. Many penguins prepare their nests in the burrows or caves, somewhere in the timber or rocky crevices, under the vegetation or near people's dwellings. For the first three weeks, thoughtful parents do not leave recently hatched chicks alone in the nest, and only one of the parents brings food to the nursery while the other one looks after the young. After three weeks both parents go hunting.

Blue penguins are found along the entire coast of New Zealand, but the largest colonies are located in Oamaru, Banks Peninsula, and Chatham Islands.

The best time to observe penguins' family is a ​warm breeding season. This time coincides with their moulting season, which means they can not swim and are forced to stay ashore.

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