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Rockhopper Penguin
Similar Birds:
 Fiordland Penguin
 Erect-Crested Penguin
 Royal Penguin
 Snares Penguin
 Macaroni Penguin



Rockhopper Penguin
Photographer: Stan Shebs


Rockhopper Penguin Colony
Photographer: Ben Tubby


Rockhopper Penguin Range Map (Sub-Antarctic Islands)
Rockhopper Penguin Range Map (Sub-Antarctic Islands)

Latin Name Eudyptes chrysocome
Conservation Status Vulnerable
Location Sub-Antarctic Islands
Colour Blue/Black & White
Height Up to 55 cm (21 inches)
Weight 2 - 3 Kgs (4.5 - 6.5 lbs)
Life Expectancy 10 Yrs (Average)

Main Characteristics


Rockhopper Penguins are named after the way they hop from rock to rock when moving around their colonies. They reach heights up to 55 cms (21 inches) and they weigh between 2 and 3 kgs (4.5 - 6.5 lbs).

Their head and back are blue/black in colour and they have a white coloured front. They have a yellow line along their brow which extends to a feathery crest. They have small red eyes and a orange coloured beak.

Rockhopper Penguins are loud, aggressive birds and they use a call known as "ecstatic vocalization" to attract mates. As well as vocalizing they also communicate by head shaking, bowing, preening, and head and flipper waving.

Habitat

Rockhopper Penguins are found in large colonies on sub-antarctic islands during the breeding season and they spend their winters at sea.

Diet

Rockhopper Penguins mainly feed on krill, fish and squid.

Breeding

Rockhopper Penguins breed during the spring and summer and the female will lay 2 eggs in a rocky burrow. Usually the first laid, smaller egg is lost during incubation, or if it is retained it usually does not hatch.

The egg is incubated by both parents and after approximately 5 weeks it hatches. The chick is cared for by both parents and it joins a creche with other chicks when it is approximately 3 weeks old.

When the chick reaches 10 weeks old it will have gained its full adult plumage and is ready to go to sea.

Predators

Predators of Rockhopper Penguins include blue sharks, fur seals and leopard seals. Eggs and chicks fall prey to skuas, petrels, kelp gulls and other sea birds.

Subspecies

Subspecies of the Rockhopper Penguin are:

Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome

Eudyptes chrysocome filholi

Eudyptes chrysocome moseleyi

Interesting Facts

Rockhopper Penguins are also known as:
Southern Rockhopper Penguin

Rockhopper Penguins are members of the crested penguin group which also includes the:
Royal Penguin
Macaroni Penguin
Snares Penguin
Fiordland Penguin
Erect-Crested Penguin

The current population of Rockhopper Penguins is approximately 4 million pairs.

Rockhopper Penguins are the smallest of the 6 species of crested penguins, but they are the most widespread.
 


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