What Is the Penguin's Life Cycle?

According to The Blue Penguin Colony of Oamaru, New Zealand, the penguin's life cycle takes place on a year-round calendar that stretches from July to the following June. The cycle centers around penguin mating season and the rearing of chicks, with only a small portion of the year dedicated to living at sea and amassing body weight in preparation for the next breeding season.

In July penguins begin to gather in breeding colonies and build nests in preparation for the breeding season. Mating takes place throughout late July and August, and egg laying takes place through the month of September. The penguins incubate their eggs for several months and then guard their chicks constantly for an additional two to three weeks. When the chicks are stronger, the parents leave the nest to hunt but still return every day to feed the chicks. Between October and December, the chicks begin to leave the nest and enter the sea to hunt and build up their body weight.

March and April is molting season for the penguins. They return to their nests, shed all their old feathers and grow new ones. During this time, they are unable to hunt and live off stored fat reserves. Following molting season, in May and early June, the penguins return to the sea to hunt and build up their body weight in preparation for another mating season.