The little penguin is the smallest species of penguin. It grows to an average of 33 cm (13 in) in height and 43 cm (17 in) in length, though specific measurements vary by subspecies.
It is found on the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand, with possible records from Chile. In Australia, they are often called fairy penguins because of their small size. In New Zealand, they are more commonly known as little blue penguins or blue penguins owing to their slate-blue plumage; they are also known by their Māori name: kororā.
Like those of all penguins, the little penguin’s wings have developed into flippers used for swimming. The little penguin typically grows to between 30 and 33 cm (12 and 13 in) tall and usually weighs about 1.5 kg on average (3.3 lb). The head and upper parts are blue in colour, with slate-grey ear coverts fading to white underneath, from the chin to the belly. Their flippers are blue in colour. The dark grey-black beak is 3–4 cm long, the irises pale silvery- or bluish-grey or hazel, and the feet pink above with black soles and webbing. An immature individual will have a shorter bill and lighter upperparts.
Like most seabirds, they have a long lifespan. The average for the species is over 6 years, but flipper ringing experiments show in very exceptional cases up to 25 years in captivity.