Macaroni Penguin Facts | Amazing Facts about Macaroni Penguins

Let’s study the interesting macaroni penguin facts such as macaroni penguin diet, habitat, and reproduction. Macaroni penguin is the largest of the Eudyptes penguins. The penguin displays bluish-black undersides together with the white upper tail coverts; it has a black chin and throat which ends on the upper breast in a V-shape. Macaroni penguins have reddish-brown bill and pink legs and feet. The only feature that distinguishes macaroni penguin from other species is its golden head plumes, which are combined with its forehead. The penguin prominently shows its crown feathers and yellow tufts by raising it when the penguin is excited. The weight of an adult macaroni penguin measures around 12 pounds (5.5 kg), with the length measuring at 27 inches (69 cm). Males are fairly larger and have heavier bills in comparison to the females. Macaroni penguins are known to breed around the tip of Antarctic Peninsula along with its offshore islands, Heard, South Sandwich, Prince Edward, South Georgia, Bouvet, Crozet, islands of Kerguelen, South Falklands and Orkney. The southern population of macaroni penguins migrates towards warmer regions in summer, with some species often reach South Africa.

Macaroni Penguin Facts

  • The average length of macaroni penguins measure around 70 cm (28 inches), with the weight averaging 5.5 kg.
  • The weight of a male after incubating measures around 3.3 kg (7 lb) and it reaches 3.7 kg (8 lb) after moulting; while females weigh around 3.2 kg (7 lb) after moulting and 5.7 kg (13 lb) before moulting.
  • The macaroni penguin’s bill measures at 7 – 8 cm (2.8 – 3.1 inches). The males have relatively larger bills.
  • The shoulder height of the wings is 20.4 cm (8.0 inches).
  • It has a 9 – 10 cm (3.5 – 3.9 inches) long tail.
  • The young macaroni penguins display a brown duller bill along with the dark grey chin.
  • When the birds turn out to be 3 or 4 years old, the crest becomes fully developed.
  • Only once in a year, do macaroni penguins moult when old feathers are replaced by the new ones.
  • These penguins communicate with each other by making different sounds. The colonies of macaroni penguins are often found noisy.
  • These penguins waddle instead of walking; holding their flippers out sideways and backward while upright.
  • Macaroni penguins seldom dive too deep like other penguins usually do. They rarely go beyond 150 feet (45 meters).
  • They are the most common penguin throughout the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters, with an estimated breeding pairs of 10 – 12 million. Around 5 million penguins breed in the South Georgia.
  • They remain active all throughout the day.
macaroni penguin facts | macaroni penguin

Macaroni Penguins
Image Courtesy of birdsflight.com

Reproduction | Macaroni Penguin Facts

  1. The female becomes mature at the age of five while males reach the maturity age after six years. Macaroni penguins typically breed in jam-packed colonies and they lay eggs in a shallow depression in soil.
  2. Macaroni penguins return back to their colonies in the months of September and November.
  3. Both males and females contribute towards incubating which takes 35 days.
  4. The male penguin brood the chicks in the first 3 weeks.
  5. The chicks begin to fledge out after 10 weeks.
  6. The incubation period lasts for 60 – 70 days.
  7. The average lifespan of macaroni penguins is unknown.
  8. The macaroni penguins nest measure around 86 cm at the edges.
  9. The female penguin lays two eggs in the breeding season.
  10. The weight of the first egg measures at 90 – 94 g (3.2 – 3.3 oz); while the second egg weigh around 145 – 155 g (5.1 – 5.5 oz).
  11. The male protects its chicks for about 23 – 25 days.

Where Do Macaroni Penguins Live | Macaroni Penguin Facts

Macaroni penguins are the most abundant penguin species with the breeding pairs of no less than 11 million. These flightless birds typically breed in South Georgia, South Orkney Islands, Falklands, Prince Edward, Marion Islands, Shetland Islands, Crozet Islands, Bouvet Islands, Kerguelen Islands and Heard Islands. They are also found in Brazil, Tristan da Cunha, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

What Do Macaroni Penguins Eat | Macaroni Penguin Facts

Macaroni penguins predominantly feed on fish, squid, and crustaceans. The bulk of macaroni penguins diet is composed of Antarctic Krill and krill. They also consume Painted notie (Lepidonotothenlarseni), Marbled rockcod (Nototheniarossii), and P. normani species. Macaroni penguins are no different in their swallowing behavior since they also swallow small stones of 10 – 30 mm diameter.

Macaroni penguins start their day in foraging and remain busy until dusk. The penguins venture their journey for about 10 – 20 days during incubation. They consume largest number of krills with an estimate of 9.2 million tonnes krill a year.

Predators | Macaroni Penguin Facts

Birds and aquatic mammals are potential predators of macaroni penguins. Other predators include Killer Whale, Snowy Sheathbill, Kelp Gull, Giant Petrels, Antarctic fur seal, Skua, and Antarctic fur seals.

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