The Fiordland crested penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) is a subspecies of penguin that is native to New Zealand. The penguin is named after the Fiordland coast where it mostly breeds. The IUCN has listed it as a Vulnerable species. It is also called ‘tawaki’. The crested penguin is a migratory species.
Fiordland Penguin Facts
- Fiordland crested penguins are medium-size birds with adults stand 60 cm (24 in) tall.
- Penguins weigh up to 2 to 5.95 kg (4.4 to 13.1 lb) with an average weight measuring up to 3.7 kg (8.2 lb).
- The bird is primarily recognized by its bluish-grey plumage along with the white undersides.
- Male penguins are likely to show larger bills as compared to the females.
- They have silky white undersides.
- Prominent among its features is its yellow stripes that run above the eye all the way down the neck. Fiordland penguins have 3 – 6 white stripes.
- The global population of Fiordland penguins is about 2,500 – 3,000.
- Predators include stoats, rats, cats, and dogs.
Range & Habitat
- The fiordland crested penguin is thought to make nests in the temperate forests. Besides the Fiordland coast it is also found on the Stewart Island.
- Western Australia also witnesses many crested penguins. The isolated population also lives on the Macquarie Island, Chatham Island, and Campbell Island. The range also includes South Westland (Bruce Bay) and Foveaux Island.
- One can also see Fiordland crested penguins at Jackson Bay, Munro Beach, and Milford Sound.
- Fiordland penguins are migratory and they often move toward Snares Islands.
- The penguin is a highly timid bird and it is not adapted to living with humans.
- They are known to produce high pitched loud calls including hissing, growling, and
Feeding Ecology & Diet
- Fiordland penguins consume arrow squid among other cephalopods, fish larvae, as well as red cod and hoki, krill, young squid, and octopus.
- The breeding season ranges from July to November. They will also molt from January to March.
- Fiordland penguins pair for life. They attain maturity at 5 – 6 years of age.
- They form small colonies and the nesting takes place between July and December. Penguins build nests at the bottom of trees and thick vegetation. Should it nest in the caves that will be close to the coast.
- The female lays 2 white eggs in August. These eggs are different in sizes.
- The incubation period lasts 30 – 35 days.
- The female will raise only one brood per season. One of the two chicks may die of starvation but chances are that it may not hatch.
- The male brood the chicks and he is likely to go by 21 days without eating anything.
- Young penguins will leave the colony in November or December.