Fiordland Crested Penguin

Fiordland Crested Penguin



COMMON NAME: fiordland crested penguin
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
ORDER: Sphenisciformes
FAMILY: Spheniscidae
GENUS SPECIES: Eudyptes pachyrhynchus


DESCRIPTION: Fiordland crested penguins have a crest of yellow plumes on the sides of their head. They also have a broad yellow stripe that drops down the neck and are the only crested penguin with white stripes (3-6) on their cheeks.
SIZE: up to 61 cm (24 in.)
WEIGHT: 2.5-3 kg (6-7 lb.)
DIET: small fishes, crustaceans, cuttlefish
INCUBATION: 31-36 days
SEXUAL MATURITY: 5-6 years old
LIFE SPAN: 10-20 years
RANGE: subantarctic islands and New Zealand
HABITAT: Nests on slopes in wet coastal rainforest and also along rocky coasts in hollows.
POPULATION: GLOBAL 5,000-6,000 individuals
STATUS: IUCN Vulnerable
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


1. Fiordland crested penguins nest under bushes, between tree roots, or in holes using very little nest-building material.
2. These penguins form loose colonies and sparsely dispersed nesting sites.
3. Some penguin species spend up to 75% of their lives at sea. Fiordland crested penguins occasionally grow barnacles on their tails - an indication that they may be at sea for long periods of time.
4. Crested penguins (genus Eudyptes) lay two eggs. The second-laid egg and the subsequent chick is usually the larger of the two and usually the survivor. It typically hatches first or at the same time as the chick from the first-laid egg. The first-laid egg is often kicked out of the nest by the adults prior to hatching time.
5. For more information about penguins, explore the PENGUIN INFOBOOK.


The Fiordland crested penguin population is largely affected by introduced predators such as the weka (Gallirallus australis), which preys on eggs and chicks and causes up to 38% of egg mortality and 20% of chick mortality on Open Bay Island. Other predators include dogs, cats, stoat, and rats.

All 18 species of penguin are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 makes it illegal to harm, or in any way interfere with, a penguin or its eggs. Every penguin specimen collected with a permit must be approved by and reported to the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR). Penguins are vulnerable to habitat destruction, overfishing of primary food sources, ecological disasters such as oil spills, pollution such as trash in the ocean, and human encroachment into nesting areas.


BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Eudyptes pachyrhynchus. Downloaded from

Coats, Judith. Penguins: Flightless Birds of the Southern Hemisphere. SeaWorld Education Department, 2001.

Nuzzolo, Debbie. Penguin March. SeaWorld Education Department, 2002.