We’re nearing the end of the Little Penguin breeding season on Phillip Island (Millowl).
Although we have approximately 20% of burrows still breeding, we are starting to see moulting Penguins come ashore and this will continue through the rest of Summer and into Autumn. Adult penguins have to moult every year to replace any worn feathers and maintain their water-proofing. This is vital for a species that spends 80% of their time in the water, sometimes spending weeks on the ocean at a time during the Winter period. Little Penguins go through what is called a catastrophic moult, where they moult all of their roughly 10,000 feathers at the one time. For Little Penguins, this means spending a couple of weeks out at sea fattening up before coming ashore for approximately 17 days to moult. During this time they are not water-proof and must stay on land fasting, which means prior to moulting they can double their average weight.