Rockhopper penguin

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Southern rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes (chrysocome) chrysocome

The rockhopper penguins are three closely related crested penguins that were thought to be a single species. They are now usually split into two or three species.

Not all experts agree on the classification of these penguins. Some think all three are distinct species. Some split the western and eastern forms into the southern rockhopper penguin and keeping the northern rockhopper as distinct, while other experts lump all three, calling it simply 'rockhopper penguin'.

  • Western rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome
  • Eastern rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes chrysocome filholi
  • Northern rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes moseleyi

They have a crest of feathers on their heads. They are called rockhopper because they hop from rock to rock to their nesting places. They keep both feet together so they can jump up more than a metre.

Although the rockhopper penguin is one of the world’s most numerous penguins, the population has dropped almost 90% since the early 20th century. The cause of this decline is mainly unknown. Scientists speculate that humans are involved, mostly by commercial overfishing, oil exploitation, and pollution.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. Dehnhard N. et al 2013. Survival of rockhopper penguins in times of global climate change. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 23(5), 777-789.