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Fairy Penguins

Animals and Birds of Australia

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Fairy penguins on Phillip Island ... coming home at dusk

Fairy penguins on Phillip Island ... coming home at dusk

© Tourism Victoria

The fairy penguins on Victoria's Phillip Island come out of the sea at dusk and march in waves to their burrows on the beach.

Since my first visit to Phillip Island, I've always known these birds to be fairy penguins. Lately there seems to have been a change, in name, to little penguins, a less evocative — but politically correct — term.

Little penguins are not a new term and in Chile they call them pingüinos pequeños, which translates to little penguins. They are also known as blue penguins because of a bluish color in their upper feathers.

The fairy penguins are in fact the smallest species of penguin (Eudyptula minor, Greek for "good little diver") and are generally to be found in Australia, New Zealand, the Chatham Islands and in Chile in South America.

These fairy penguins (yes, I much prefer to call them fairy penguins) are a main attraction on Phillip Island where the penguin parade at dusk draws crowds of visitors to the beach.

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