A celebrity penguin from the Cotswolds has been crowned the world’s most popular flightless bird after winning a global competition.

Worldwide reaction to the final of Penguins International’s March of the Penguin Madness was such that voting had to be extended due to the website crashing.

Spike, a king penguin at Birdland with over 15,000 Facebook followers, took on an African penguin called Mai from the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Hawaii.

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.

On his way to the final 15-year-old Spike had already beaten off competitors from as far afield as Australia, America and Canada.

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 Alistair.

“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."

Cotswold Journal: Spike, left, at Birdland's Penguin ShoreSpike, left, at Birdland's Penguin Shore (Image: Cotswold House Photography)

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

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

Over the years Spike has become one of the country’s best-known penguins with a starring role alongside the legendary Sir David Attenborough as part of the ‘Natural Curiosities’ series.

Other television highlights include 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.

Cotswold Journal: Spike in the middle of a king penguin queue at Birdland Park & GardensSpike in the middle of a king penguin queue at Birdland Park & Gardens (Image: Birdland)

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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.

Cotswold Journal: Sir David Attenborough meeting Spike, front left, and the other king penguins at BirdlandSir David Attenborough meeting Spike, front left, and the other king penguins at Birdland (Image: Birdland)