Blue penguin (kororā)

The blue penguin is the smallest penguin, known as kororā in Māori, and variously called blue, little blue or fairy penguin in English.

For visitors from the Northern Hemisphere this strange little bird may be a highlight, as penguins are only found south of the equator (with the exception of the Galapagos Islands).

The difficulty in seeing these little penguins is that they only come ashore after dark. They need to come ashore both to breed and to moult, seeking shelter in a cave, a tumble of rocks or a self-excavated burrow. This is not always appreciated by bach owners as the associated activities can cause them to be quite vocal in the middle of the night. For the keen observer, an evening vigil at dusk on a less-visited beach may be rewarded. Make sure you stay hidden as the penguins are easily scared. If this fails, there are some excellent opportunities to view large colonies of these birds at places such as Oamaru.

Whether little penguins need conservation assistance in the Abel Tasman National Park is unknown. Outside of the Park there is a particular problem with predation by dogs and with road accidents. There are also possible problems at sea. Set nets kill some birds and seasonal changes in the marine ecosystems affect the ability to raise young in some years.

Blue penguin (kororā)

Blue penguin (kororā). Photo: New Zealand Birds Online

Blue penguin (kororā) calls on New Zealand Birds Online.

More info on New Zealand Birds Online.