The Erect-crested Penguin is a penguin from New Zealand.
Erect-crested penguins breed on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands. The total population is about 200,000 breeding pairs.
This is a medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin, growing to approximately 60 centimetres in height.
Erect-crested penguins have a bluish-black to jet black upper parts and white under parts and a broad, bright yellow eyebrow-stripe which extends over the eye to form a short, erect crest.
The characteristic features of the Erect-crested penguin are the distinctive upward-sweeping crests of long brush-like feathers which extend from the base of the bill to the top of the head. Erect-crested penguins are able to raise and lower their stiff crest feathers, which none of the other crested penguins can do.
Erect-crested penguins have chocolate brown eyes, and parallel sides on the top horny ridge of the bill. Erect-crested penguins are sometimes called the ‘Sclater’s Penguins‘.
Erect-Crested Penguin Diet
Erect-crested penguins dine on fish and krill near the surface of the sea and that they may travel great distances in search of food.
Erect-Crested Penguin Behaviour
Erect-crested penguins are very sociable and nest in large colonies located close to colonies of Rockhopper penguins. They nest in large, raucous colonies located close to and in association with colonies of Rockhoppers. Fighting over nests is a frequent occurrence at these colonies as prime nesting locations are often hard to come by and competition can be fierce.
Erect-Crested Penguin Reproduction
Erect-crested penguins nests are simple affairs often comprising of just a few stones and a little mud and sometimes lined with grass. Two eggs are laid, the first of which is usually lost due to neglect, failure to fertilize or misdirection of a hormonal signal. The second egg is up to twice the size of the first and is the only one seriously incubated. The chicks fledge in February and the adults return to sea for the winter after molting in March.
Erect-Crested Penguin Predators
Erect-crested penguins are preyed upon by skuas and Fur seals.
Erect-Crested Penguin Conservation
The current status of the Erect-crested penguins is endangered due to population decline and a small breeding range restricted to two locations.