Blue penguins come onto land mainly to breed and moult, but will also spend time ashore during non-breeding months. They are only active on land at night. They leave from the colony early in the morning before sun-rise, and return to the colony after dark. During the day, if the penguins decide not to go to sea, they will stay hidden inside their nests. The penguins will normally make their nests by digging a burrow into soil or sand or finding a crevice amongst the rocks. At the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony we have provided artificial nesting boxes for the penguins to use, as they are less prone to collapsing or flooding than natural nests.
Occasionally on land blue penguins need to cool down, for example when they return from a days fishing they have swum a long way. Methods for cooling off include ruffling the feathers to break up the insulating air, they can hold their flippers away from the body or in extreme cases they can pant.
Blue penguins are very vocal, they have a range of calls which serve many purposes. To recognise each other or claim or defend territory they have a braying call. As they come ashore they quack, this keeps the group of penguins together and may alert the birds ashore of their return.