Southern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome

  • Order: Sphenisciformes
  • Family: Spheniscidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors needed...
  • © Project Penguins

This is one of the two species of “crested” penguins (genus Eudyptes) found in South America, the other is the Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus). Although few people get to see this species in South America, there are large colonies in Chile with two estimated at over 100,000 pairs, and another at over 80,000 pairs! It also nests in numbers on the Falkland Islands. The Rockhopper Penguin is the most widespread of the Eudyptes genus, breeding on various islands in the New Zeland sector as well as the southern Indian Ocean. Note that the form moseleyi breeding on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Archipelagos in the South Atlantic are almost surely a separate species, the Northern Rockhopper Penguin. It differs by having a much longer set of face plumes. Rockhopper Penguins show black upperparts, white underparts a black head, throat and neck and bold golden tufts on the sides of the head, behind the eyes. There is also a narrow yellow supercilium between the eye and the reddish bill. Rockhopper Penguins are surface nesters, and they forage on various marine life from krill to fish and squid. In winter some move north but stay offshore. Sometimes sick Rockhopper Penguins show up in winter as far north as Uruguay or central Chile.

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© Ted Parker

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Southern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: