The little penguin colony at Sydney’s North Harbour was a local secret for many years with residents reporting its existence from around the 1940s and '50s. They breed in more than ten island sites in NSW, including Lion Island in Pittwater and Five Islands off Port Kembla.
The population numbering approximately 60–70 breeding pairs lives in secluded coves and is the only remaining breeding colony on the NSW mainland. Visit the What is being done to help Manly's little penguins? page for the latest monitoring info.
Little penguins forage for food throughout Sydney Harbour and along the Sydney coast, with frequent sightings around Bondi, Botany Bay, Mosman, Narrabeen and Vaucluse. Some of our penguins have even travelled as far as Victoria.
Little penguins come back to Manly each year to breed between May and February. They usually return to their burrows at sunset, when the darkness hides them from predators.
Unlike Phillip Island, near Melbourne, the little penguin population at Manly is small, so it’s not always possible to see them in their natural habitat.
If you do see a little penguin, please don’t use flash photography as it disorientates them.
If you see one of the NPWS Volunteer Penguin Wardens, please have a chat to them about what the penguins are up to.