Southern Rockhopper Penguin

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Birds

i(Southern) Rockhopper Penguin

Conservation status

Vulnerable (VU)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Eudyptes
Species: E. chrysocome
Binomial name
Eudyptes chrysocome
Forster, 1781

The Southern Rockhopper Penguin or just Rockhopper Penguin, Eudyptes chrysocome, is a species of penguin closely related to the Macaroni Penguin.

This is the smallest yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin, reaching a length of 55 cm. It has slate-grey upperparts and a straight, bright yellow eyebrow ending in long yellowish plumes projecting sideways behind a red eye. It breeds in colonies, from sea-level to cliff-tops, and sometimes inland. It feeds on krill, squid, octopus, fish, molluscs, plankton, cuttlefish and crustaceans.

The Rockhopper Penguins have a global population of about 3.5 million pairs. The nominate subspecies chrysocome breeds on the Falkland Islands, and on islands off Argentina and southern Chile. The subspecies moseleyi, possibly a distinct species (as Northern Rockhopper Penguin, E. moseleyi) breeds on islands in Tristan da Cunha, and Amsterdam and St Paul Islands. The subspecies filholi breeds on the Prince Edward Islands, the Crozet Islands, the Kerguelen Islands, Heard Island, Macquarie Island, and Campbell, New Zealand and Antipodes Islands.

The status of this species is vulnerable due to a fall of 24% in its population in the last thirty years.

As their name suggests, they spend their time hopping over rocks, and the explorers who discovered them were amused to see the penguins jumping all over the place.

The scientific name for the Rockhopper penguin is sometimes given as Eudyptes crestatus.

Rockhopper Penguin in Edinburgh Zoo.
Rockhopper Penguin in Edinburgh Zoo.


The characters Ivan and Tobi from the Konami video game Sexy Parodius are actually a pair of Rockhoppers.

The character Rocco in "The Pebble and the Penguin," is most likely a Rockhopper.

The cover of the Fleetwood Mac album Penguin features a Rockhopper. The penguin subsequently became Fleetwood Mac's mascot.

In the Warner Brothers animated film, Happy Feet, the character "Lovelace" is a Rockhopper.

The main character in the upcoming film Surf's Up appears to be a Rockhopper.

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