Rare King Penguin sighting on the mainland attracts plenty of attention!

Occasionally we get an unexpected maritime visitor to Australia’s shores of the feathered kind. The King Penguin, which normally spends its time frequenting the sub-Antarctic oceans and islands, is one such species that you don’t normally expect to see on the beaches of mainland Australia!

This recent visitor turned up late last month on the rugged Coorong Beach in South Australia, becoming the most westward of the known records in south-eastern Australia (although remarkably, the species has also landed ashore a couple of times previously in southern WA). That was until yet another King Penguin sighting was reported nearly two weeks later on the eastern side of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, in Port Neill! An expert suggested could be the same individual, as King Penguins can travel very long distances in the water.

The small number of known records of the King Penguin visiting the coast of south-eastern Australia, with only several on the mainland. The western-most record shown here is the first of two recent sightings on the beach along the Coorong, SA. Map from the Atlas of Living Australia.

Two articles that explain the first sighting are shared below, along with a video recorded by Abel Zevenboom, from Friends of Shorebirds SE, who you might recall shared the fantastic images of an Australian Painted Snipe at Lake Hawdon in last month’s NGT newsletter.

Needless to say, Abel is having a good run with spectacular sightings!

Mark Bachmann