Fiordland Penguin

Information about the Bird Fiordland Penguin

The Fiordland crested penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus), also known as tawaki (Maori), is a species of crested penguin from New Zealand. It breeds along the south-western coasts of New Zealand's South Island well as on Stewart Island/Rakiura and its outlying islands.

Also known as the Fiordland crested penguin, the Fiordland penguin was described in 1845 by English zoologist George Robert Gray, its specific epithet derived from the Ancient Greek pachy-/- "thick" and rhynchos/ "beak". It is one of six species in the genus Eudyptes, the generic name derived from the Ancient Greek eu/ "good" and dyptes/ "diver".
They are medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguins, growing to approximately 60cm (24in) long and weighing on average 3.7kg (8.2lb), with a weight range of 2 to 5.95kg (4.4 to 13.1lb). It has dark, bluish-grey upperparts with a darker head, and white underparts. It has a broad, yellow eyebrow-stripe which extends over the eye and drops down the neck. Most birds have three to six whitish stripes on the face.
This penguin nests in colonies in dense temperate forest. It breeds along the shores of Southwestland, Fiordland and Stewart Island/Rakiura and its outlying islands.
The main prey species reported for Fiordland penguins are cephalopods (85%, mainly arrow squid, Nototodarus sloanii), followed by crustaceans (13%, primarily krill, Nyctiphanes australis) and fish (2%, mainly red cod and hoki). However, the importance of cephalopods might be exaggerated.
The current status of this penguin is threatened due to its small population. Current population estimates range between 2,500-3,000 pairs although this is believed to be an underestimate of the true population size. The population at some sites reportedly underwent declines while at others penguin numbers apparently increased; overall population trends remain unclear. It is under threat from introduced predators including dogs, cats, stoats and rats.

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