Macaroni Penguin

The Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) is a species of penguin which is closely related to the Rockhopper Penguin.

This is black and white penguin with a yellowish orange plume located above its eye. It typically lays two eggs but abandons the first. The eggs hatch around 34 days after they are laid. Its weighs around 4.5kg and is roughly 45-55cm tall. It eats squid, krill and other crustaceans.

The Macaroni Penguin is the most numerous of all the world’s penguins, with an estimated world population of over 9 million breeding pairs. It breeds in at least 216 colonies at 50 sites, including southern Chile, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the South Orkney and South Shetland Islands, Bouvet Island, Prince Edward Islands of South Africa, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands and very locally on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Despite its large population, the Macaroni Penguin has been classified as vulnerable by BirdLife International, sinces its population has been reduced by at least 30% over three generations. The main threats to its breeding grounds are those common to all Southern Ocean species, such as the existing and potential impact of commercial fishing, ocean warming and oil pollution.

The name Macaroni is said to be a reference to the Macaroni Club via the old song Yankee Doodle, because of the bird’s conspicuous “feather in its cap”.

PHOTO CREDIT: Yan Ropert-Coudert