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Rockhopper Penguin

From Opus

(Difference between revisions)

Revision as of 22:45, 15 April 2007

Eudyptes chrysocome
Photo by Peter Bono
Photo by Peter Bono

[edit] Identification

Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome Range Circumpolar in the subantarctic and the most widespread of the Eudyptes penguins. Breeds on islands off Tierra sel Fuego, the Falklands, Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island, St Paul and Amsterdam Islands, Prince Edward, Marion, Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard, Macquarie, Campbell, Auckland and Antipodes Islands. Pelagic after breeding but range little-known. Winters north to 350S off South America and also occurs off South Africa and Australia.

Habitat Breeds in caves and rocky crevices, or in the open on cliff-tops and ledges, often at some height above the sea. Present at colonies October-May and at sea for the rest of the year.

Identification Slaty to blue-black above and white below. Head blackish with occipital crest and golden-yellow superciliary crest, narrow in front of the eye and culminating in drooping plumes towards the nape. Bill dull orange or red-brown with fleshy margin at base from pink to black. Feet pink with black soles.

Length 55-64cm.

Voice A loud braying call.

BREEDING Colonial breeder on steep slopes and coastlines. Nest is in a cave or crevice, in dense vegetation or in the open, a structure of stomes, grass and feathers. Eggs: two, dull white with and greenish tinge, soon becoming stained. Laid in late October-early November, (77 x 45mm) second larger than first. Incubated for about 42 days by both sexes but only one young is usually raised.

DIET Crustaceans, small fish and squid.

Subspecies Nominate race breeds off South America and on the Falklands, moseleyi (larger with more prominent occipital crest and more extensive black on leading edge of underside of flipper) in the South Atlantic and filholi (more extensive black on leading edge of flipper underside but less so than moseleyi) in remainder of range.

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