Chile. Like little kings they stand there and live up to their name. The king penguins of Tierra del Fuego. Here in Parque Pingüino Rey in Chile lives the only colony of king penguins in Tierra del Fuego. A great opportunity to get to know these majestic animals. Find out more about the Parque Pingüino Rey and its inhabitants in my article. What is the best season to visit the penguins? Read on and see what you can experience in your respective travel month.
Parque Pingüino Rey in Chile
In 2010, a small group of king penguins conquered a place in the Bahia Inutil. Under the protection and initiative of the Parque Pingüino Rey, the colony has been thriving ever since. In 2013, the first offspring was born. At the end of 2018, the colony of King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego had about 90 individuals.
The Parque Pingüino Rey is a beautiful example of a hand in hand work of research, education and sustainable tourism. The park has been open to visitors since 2011. Paths and two observation points have been created. Information boards have also been set up. From these places you can observe the penguins from a distance of 30 to 50 meters. A wooden fence protects the colony from excessive damage. For photographers the fence also offers a great storage for the camera with telephoto lens. In addition, binoculars bring the King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego a little closer to the visitor.
How to get to the King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego
The Parque Pingüino Rey is easy to reach from Punta Arenas as part of a day trip. This can be done either with an organized tour* or with your own vehicle. The journey is long but worthwhile. Furthermore the trip can be supplemented by smaller intermediate stops. A visit to the museum Porvenir, the oil town Cerro Sombrero would be a good idea. You like Lost Places? Then a visit to the wrecks of the abandoned Estancia San Gregorino is worthwhile.
You can find out more about visiting times, directions and other information on the Parque Pingüino Rey website.
When do you see What?
A successful pair of penguins gives birth to two chicks every three years. The breeding cycle is between 14 and 15 months. The success rate in the colony is currently between 20% and 84%. Which phase of the breeding cycle you can see depends on the month of your visit:
- September - October: Moult (21-28 days)
- October - December: Courtship display and mating
- November - January: The eggs are hatched (54-60 days). The eggs lie on the feet of the penguins and are warmed by an overlying skin fold.
- January - December: The chicks wear their fluffy brown plumage (300 - 390 days).
- November - December: The chicks become independent and change their plumage.
Facts about King Penguins
Königspinguin – King Penguin – Pingüino Rey – Aptenodytes patagonicus
Eighteen penguin species occur worldwide. The king penguin is the second largest species after the emperor penguin. Its breeding areas are the subantarctic islands between 45° and 55° southern latitude. For example South Georgia or the Falkland Islands. In addition, the king penguin is a migratory bird. To the food-search, it swims from its hatcheries as far as to the circumpolar Antarctic waters.
- Size: 95 - 120 centimeters
- Weight: 10 - 12 kilograms
- Age: up to 25 years
- Sexually mature: after 3 -6 years
- Population: approx. 1.6 million breeding pairs
- Food: fish, squid, crustaceans
- Enemies: fox, mink, sea lion, sea leopard, orca
- Protection status: not endangered according to Red List 2016
Have you ever been to Tierra del Fuego National Park yourself and maybe visited the King Penguins? Do you have any questions about my article or further suggestions? If so, please write me a comment!