Our Beautiful World
Erect-crested Penguins live and breed on four small islands south of New Zealand.
The Erect-crested penguins tend to be very sociable and live in huge colonies close to Rockhopper
Penguins. What makes these penguins different from the other four types of crested penguins is their
spiky feathers which grow from the top of their bills past their heads. Erect-cresteds can raise and lower
these feathers, which none of the other cresteds can do.
Photo: Dave Houston
One of the largest of the crested penguins, the erect-crested penguin stands at approx 50cm and weighs up to 4kg.
The parallel, brush-like crests identify adults of this species, however it is easily confused with the Fiordland and Snares crested
penguins. Key identification features are the strip of bare skin on the bottom edge of the bill and the crest starting at the gape
of the bill. In both Fiordland and Snares penguins the crest starts at the base of the top plate of the bill.
Erect-crested nest in shallow holes in the ground. They use plant material to line the nests when they
can find it. These penguins almost always lay two eggs, however only one chick will survive.
Its biology is poorly studied and only little information about the species has emerged in the past decades.
Erect-crested Penguins nest in large colonies on rocky terrain. It presumably feeds on mainly krill and squid like other
crested penguin species.
The current status of this penguin is endangered due to population
decline and a small breeding range restricted to two locations.