Fiordland Penguins, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
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Description & Behavior
Fiordland (crested) penguins, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus (Gray, 1845), are one of the smaller species in the penguin family. Fiordland penguins have black plumage on their back, head and throat with white plumage on their belly. They have a short, orange bill and pink feet and the characteristic yellow crests that extend from their bill to just above their eyes and behind their head. Fiordland penguins are often confused with erect-crested penguins, which also have crests above their eyes and with Snares Island penguins although the Snares is a larger species. Fiordland penguins stand about 40 cm tall and weigh an average of 4 kg. This species is not as social as other penguin species and tends to form loose colonies with sparsely distributed nesting sites.
World Range & Habitat
Fiordland penguins, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, are a migratory species found in the waters of Antarctica around the Southern Islands. During the breeding season, this species can be found on the coasts of southwest New Zealand, Stewart Island and the Solander Islands. Breeding sites are typically found near trees or among the rocks for protection.
Feeding Behavior (Ecology)
Fiordland penguins, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, feed on crustaceans, squid, and small fishes.
Fiordland penguins, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, spend most of their time in the open ocean, only coming ashore to breed in monogamous pairs. Males leave the sea to select a breeding site in late June or July followed by the females 2 weeks later. Fiordland penguins do not form tight colonies like other penguin species, they tend to nest away from other pairs. Females lay 2 light green eggs at the nesting site protected by tree roots or stones during incubation for 4-6 weeks. Commonly only one egg hatches, although in some cases both chicks hatch, however the parents are often unable to feed both and the smaller of the 2 chicks dies. Like other penguin species, the male will often protect the chick while the female forages for food. When the chicks are a little older, both parents will leave the nesting site to forage. At this stage, chicks often gather in crèches (small groups of young penguins). At about 10 weeks, the chicks have developed their adult plumage and leave the nest for the sea. They will return after reaching sexual maturity around 5 years of age.
Conservation Status & Comments
Little population data exist for Fiordland penguins because breeding sites are remote and difficult to access.
Fiordland crested penguins, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, are listed as Vulnerable (VU A2be+3bce+4bce; C1+2a(i)) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:
A taxon is Vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
References & Further Research
Research Eudyptes pachyrhynchus » Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS
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