Our Beautiful World

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Megadyptes antipodes   

Yellow-eyed Penguin  Guløjet pingvin  Geeloogpinguïn    Manchot antipode Gelbaugenpinguin
  Guløyepingvin  Pinguino Ojigualdo


enlarged from above picture - note the yellow eye.

The Yellow-eyed Penguin, Megadyptes antipodes, or Hoiho is a penguin native to New Zealand.
Previously thought closely related to the Little Penguin, Eudyptula minor, molecular research has shown it more closely related
to penguins of the genus Eudyptes. Like most other penguins, it is mainly piscivorous.

The species breeds around the South Island of New Zealand, as well as Stewart, Auckland and Campbell Islands.

This is a fairly large penguin, averaging 75 cm (30 in) long and weighing about 6.3 kg (14 lbs). Weights vary through the year
being greatest, 7 to 8 kg (15.5–18 lbs), just before moulting and least, 5 to 6 kg (11–13.2 lbs), after moulting.

© www.photovolcanica.com

It has a pale yellow head and paler yellow iris with black feather shafts. The chin and throat are brownish-black.
There is a band of bright yellow running from its eyes around the back of the head.
The juvenile has a grayer head with no band and their eyes have a gray iris.

The Yellow-eyed Penguin may be long lived, with some individuals reaching 20 years of age.
Males are generally longer lived than females, leading to a sex ratio of 2:1 around the age of 10–12 years.

Lupin, Lupinus arboreus,
©  http://www.flora.org.gg/

This penguin usually nests in forest or scrub, among Native Flax (Phormium tenax) and lupin (Lupinus arboreus),
on slopes or gullies, or the shore itself, facing the sea. These areas are generally sited in small bays or on headland areas
of larger bays. It is found in New Zealand, on the south-east coast of South Island, Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island/Rakiura,
and Auckland and Campbell Islands. It expanded its range from the subantarctic islands to the main islands of New Zealand
after the extinction of the Waitaha Penguin several hundred years ago.

Three Yellow-eyed Penguins at the edge of the sea
© www.photovolcanica.com

The current status of this penguin is endangered, with an estimated population of 4000. It is considered one of the world's rarest
penguin species. The main threats include habitat degradation and introduced predators.

In spring 2004, a previously undescribed disease killed off 60% of Yellow-eyed Penguin chicks on the Otago peninsula and
in North Otago. The disease has been linked to an infection of Corynebacterium, a genus of bacteria that also causes
diphtheria in humans. It has recently been described as diphtheritic stomatitis. However, it seems as if this is just a secondary
infection. The primary pathogen remains unknown. A similar problem has affected the Stewart Island population.

The Yellow-eyed Penguin generally forages 7–13 km (4–8 miles) offshore, and travelling on average around 17 km (11 miles)
away from the nesting site. Birds leave the colony at dawn and return the same evening during chick rearing, although may
spend 2–3 days at sea at other times. Average depth dived is 34 m (112 ft).

Pair of unhatched, abandoned eggs in nest bowl.
© www.photovolcanica.com

The Yellow-eyed Penguin pursues prey in 20–60 m (66–196 ft) deep dives. Around 90% of the Yellow-eyed Penguin's diet
is made up of fish; with cephalopods such as the arrow squid, Nototodarus sloanii, making up the remainder.
Fish species consumed include the blue cod, Parapercis colias, red cod, Pseudophycis bachus, opalfish, Hemerocoetes monopterygius, and New Zealand Blueback Sprat, Sprattus antipodum, all between 2 and 32 cm (1–13 in) long.
Cephalopods make up almost half (49%) of the diet of immature birds.

Whether or not Yellow-eyed Penguins are colonial nesters has been an ongoing issue with penguin people in New Zealand.
Most Antarctic penguin species nest in large high density aggregations of birds. In contrast yellow-eyed penguins do not nest
within visual sight of each other. While they can be seen coming ashore in groups of 4–6 or more individuals then disperse
along track to individual nests sites out of sight of each other. The consensus view of New Zealand penguin workers is that it is
preferable to use habitat rather than colony to refer to areas where yellow-eyed penguins nest.

Natural nest site, Otago Peninsula, YEPT Reserve
© www.photovolcanica.com

Several mainland habitats have hides and are relatively easily accessible for those wishing to watch the birds come ashore.
These include beaches at Oamaru, Moeraki light-house, a number of beaches near Dunedin, and The Catlins.
In addition commercial tourist operations on Otago Peninsula also provide hides to view Yellow-eyed Penguins.

A reserve protecting more than 10% of the mainland population was established at Long Point in the Catlins in November
2007 by the Department of Conservation and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust.

Allopreening penguin pair
© www.photovolcanica.com


over 250


over 500


over 225
Web www.vulkaner.no

This page has been made with Macromedia Dreamweaver