Little blue penguin National Threatened Species

Little Penguin / Korora

The world’s smallest penguin, the little penguin/kororā stands just over 25 cm and weighs around 1 kg.  This bird is a water specialist and spends most of its time at sea foraging for food.  As food sources become scarce, little penguins are forced to forage further and further afield, travelling up to 70 km from the colony every day.

The population and range of little penguin has been declining in areas not protected from predators.  Penguins have a tendency to enjoy the same prime coastal real estate as humans, which means they are particularly susceptible to habitat loss and destruction.  Domestic predators such as dogs and cats pose the greatest threats, although they also suffer from predation by other introduced predators.

The population of little penguins continues to decline and needs our help!

Species: kororā / little penguin / Eudyptula minor
Location:  Found on most of New Zealand’s coastline and in southern Australia.
Status: At Risk: Declining
Threats: Predators (including dogs, cats, stoats and ferrets), vehicle strike (water and land) and set nets.

Taking action to conserve Kororā

Conservation Volunteers New Zealand is working with partners to determine the most effective sites for supporting its Little Penguin Wild Futures Program across New Zealand.  Actions include mobilising volunteers, local communities, government and business partners to protect and enhance little penguin recovery by:

  • Restoring coastal habitat, creating nest boxes
  • Increasing awareness of the threats faced by the little penguin
  • Creating nest boxes for safe, breeding sites
  • Predator control and community pest workshops

Ultimately, our goal is to ensure little penguins continue to survive and flourish in the wild.

Description and distribution

Also known as the little blue penguin, or simply blue penguin, these birds have a blue to dark indigo-blue coat on the face that extends to just below the eyes.  The underparts are bright white. Birds from Banks Peninsula and North Canterbury are the palest dorsally, and have wider white margins on the front and back edges.

Found on most coasts of New Zealand and southern Australia, the little penguin rummages during the day and they can be spotted fishing and feeding by the keen eye.  Generally, little penguins only return to shore under the cover of darkness and are rarely seen on land. During nesting season the birds become very boisterous, generally settling only metres from their own birthplace.

Help save the Kororā

You can be a part of this important recovery effort by volunteering to help the little penguin or donating to our Wild Futures program to ensure that these birds have a Wild Future.

We make it easy for people to make a difference and help little penguin in the wild.


Would you like to give the little penguin a Wild Future? You can do so by donating through our secure online system.


By volunteering on one of our field projects, you can make a practical contribution and help give the little penguin a Wild Future.

Further information

View little penguins on the Department of Conservation’s website