May 1, 2023
Hoppers on the Edge
- as seen by -Martin Brogger @tinchobrogger
The southern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome) has a circumpolar distribution, breeding in the southern Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans, on sub-Antarctic islands, and on some temperate islands. This species inhabits isolated areas, difficult to access, which makes knowledge about them scarce. Similar to other crested penguins, they are long-lived, monogamous, and show high fidelity to both nest site and mate. Breeding colonies can be found from sea level to the top of cliffs, usually in rocky areas sparsely covered with vegetation.
These penguins get their name from their distinctive habit of hopping from rock to rock to navigate rugged shorelines. They are excellent climbers and can scale steep cliffs and rock outcroppings with ease. They are characterized by their yellow and black crest feathers, red eyes, and pink webbed feet.
Southern rockhopper penguins are a relatively small penguin species, standing about 20 to 24 inches tall and weighing between 6 to 10 lbs. They feed primarily on crustaceans, squid, and fish, and are known to dive deep, up to 300 feet, to catch their prey.
Southern rockhopper penguin total populations have declined in recent years due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, overfishing, and climate change. They are listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and conservation efforts are focused on protecting their breeding colonies and reducing human disturbances in their habitats.
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