King penguin

Aptenodytes patagonicus

At the Detroit Zoo
The king penguins can be seen at the Polk Penguin Conservation Center – the largest penguin facility in the world – along with the macaroni, rockhopper, gentoo and chinstrap penguins. A unique circular pool lets the birds swim continuously, giving them the ability to swim fast enough to porpoise and “fly” through the water. The Detroit Zoo is one of the few zoos where penguins can display this natural behavior.

King penguins are the second-largest penguin species, after emperor penguins. Vivid orange feathers on their heads and upper chests distinguish them from other penguin species. King penguin chicks are feathered with brown down.

Polk Penguin Conservation Center

Fun Facts

  • King penguins only come ashore during breeding season and to molt. 

  • King penguins raise one chick every other year as it takes approximately nine months for a king penguin chick to fledge.

  • Males and females “dance” – they stand tall, trumpet and then bow to each other to start the courtship ritual.