A celebrity penguin who starred alongside Sir David Attenborough has been crowned the world’s most popular flightless bird in the world.

Spike, a king penguin at Birdland Park and Gardens in the Cotswolds, boasts more than 15,000 Facebook followers.

He was up against an African penguin called Mai from the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Hawaii.

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Competition organisers Penguins International, a non-profit organisation committed to preserving and protecting penguins throughout the world, had to extend voting due to their website crashing.

Oxford Mail:

In the end the result was incredibly close, with Spike just edging victory by a margin of 50.5 per cent to Mai’s 49.5 per cent.

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On his way to the final 15-year-old Spike had already beaten competitors from as far afield as Australia, the US and Canada in the Penguins International ‘March of The Penguins Madness’ challenge.

Spike’s victory is especially sweet for his keeper Alistair Keen who has raised him from an egg after he was rejected by his parents.

“It’s been absolutely overwhelming to witness the support for Spike from around the world,” said Al.

“He’s obviously a particular favourite with me, but for him to have made quite such a global impact is really incredible.

“Spike is a real personality and we all have a fantastic bond with him, having been hand-reared by us in 2007 after being abandoned.

“As well as being great news for Spike, the worldwide awareness created by the competition is also incredibly important for penguin conservation.

Oxford Mail:

“It’s also wonderful that we’re going to have two kings crowned here within the space of just a few week."

Spike is one of the country’s best known penguins having starred alongside the legendary Sir David Attenborough as part of the ‘Natural Curiosities’ series.

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Among his other TV highlights was a live appearance on BBC Breakfast earlier this week, Penguins Make You Laugh Out Loud and Junior Vets.

He’s also featured on Escape to the Country and starred in adverts for LG and an Icelandic bank.

In addition to his television work, Spike has appeared in numerous calendars, on greetings cards and he even has a double page spread in a natural history book.

Birdland is home to England’s only colony of king penguins and they share their fishing village-themed enclosure with a group of Humboldt penguins.