Fiordland Crested Penguin Facts for Kids Penguins 101 #penguin #NewZealand
The timidest of the crested penguins, the Fiordland crested penguin, or simply Fiordland Penguin(Eudyptes pachyrhynchus), endemic to New Zealand, only has a world population of around 3,000 breeding pairs. Also known as the New Zealand crested penguin, tawaki, pokotiwha, New Zealand penguin, thick-billed penguin, and Victoria penguin, Little is known about the marine ecology this beautiful bird. Hi, welcome to Animal Facts, today we try to uncover some tasty nuggets of information about this bashful bird. Let’s get started.
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10. One of the smaller members of the penguin family, the Fiordland crested penguin has a black head, throat and back, a white front and underside, a thick stubby orange bill and pink feet. The most distinguishing features are the yellow sulphur-coloured crests above the eyes that extend from the bill to just behind the head. Both sexes are similar, whereas young birds have paler cheeks and shorter crests.
9. After spending much of the year alone in the open ocean, males arrive at the chosen breeding site ahead of the females during late June or July. Two weeks later the females arrive and mating takes place. The birds are monogamous and prefer their nest sites to be hidden from one another. Two pale-green eggs are laid in a cavity between tree roots, stones or small burrows in the coastal forest, and incubation takes from four to six weeks. The birds do not attempt to collect nest materials. Although it is usual for just one egg to hatch successfully, occasionally both chicks emerge. However, the parents rarely catch enough food for two offspring and the smaller chick usually dies.
8. The surviving chick is looked after by the male and fed by the female for the first few weeks, then the parents take it in turns to hunt. Sometimes the chicks join a creche with other youngsters, but they always return to their nest to be fed. By the time the chicks reach 10 weeks old they have their adult plumage and they are ready to go to sea.
7. They communicate by emitting barking calls when out at sea and by visual and vocal displays while on land.
6. Fiordland Penguins are members of the crested penguin group which also includes the Royal Penguin, Macaroni Penguin, Snares Penguin, Erect-Crested Penguin, and the Rockhopper Penguin. All are black and white penguins with yellow crests, red bills and eyes, and are found on Subantarctic islands in the world’s southern oceans. All lay two eggs, but raise only one young per breeding season; the first egg laid is substantially smaller than the second.
5. Fiordland Penguins are very timid, usually active on land during the night, and are hardly ever seen during the day.
4. Fiordland crested penguins occasionally grow barnacles on their tails – an indication that they may be at sea for long periods of time.
3. Chicks eventually leave for sea at an age of about 75 days, usually in late November. The departure of the chicks is gradual and they do not appear to be accompanied by other chicks or adults. Fiordland Penguins usually only start to breed at an age of 4 years. Fledged chicks are recognizable by their greyish-blue plumage.
2. Fiordland Penguins may show aggression towards each other in a number of ways. The most severe fights occur prior to breeding and appear to be mostly initiated by late-arriving females expelling new partners of their previous mate or by single males trying to displace a breeding male from its partner.
1. The main threat to Fiordland Crested Penguins is predation by land-based predators which were brought to New Zealand by European settlers. Further, the Weka (a large flightless bird) may steal eggs, yet its numbers are also dwindling. Chicks are highly susceptible to predation by stoats, ferrets and rats but also by domestic animals such as cats and dogs.
Well, there ya have it, 10 fearless facts about the timid Fiordland Penguin. Did we miss any facts? What’s YOUR favorite animal? Let us know in the comments below. If you made it this far, take a moment to like and subscribe to get more fun facts about the critters we share this Earth with. If you’d like to help us create more list, why not sponsor us on Patreon? And as always, catch ya next time.