Erect-Crested Penguin

erectcrested

Eudyptes sclateri

Status (IUCN v3.1)

Endangered

Population declined 50% over 20 years Antipodes Island, an even greater amount on Bounty Islands. Extirpated from Campbell Island and Auckland Islands.

Conservation Concerns

With only two breeding colonies the present or threatened destruction, modification of the erect-crested penguin’s marine habitat is the greatest threat to the species throughout all its tiny range now and in the foreseeable future.

The greatest need in protection this species is gathering more information about their biology. With a better understanding of their nesting, diet and non-breeding distribution a more concrete discussion about the causes for their sharp decline can be put forth.

Distribution

ErectCrested

Population Trend

ErectCrested

Descriptive Characteristics

Plumage

Adult: Jet black head, upper-throat; pale gold supercilliary stripe starts near gape running over eye turning into a long (up to 6cm), erect, brush-like crest of silky feathers. Upper body and tail bluish-black; top and leading edge of flipper black, with white underside and trailing edge. Orange-brown bill is thinner than other crested species and separated from feathers by blue-white skin. Feet are pinkish in color. No difference in plumage between males and females.

Juvenile: Supercilliary stripe is paler than adults; crest short and not erect. Bare skin is found around gape, bill slimmer, sometimes with pale tip.

Chick: The chicks have gray-brown upper parts and white underparts.

Measurements

Males and females are very similar; males are a bit larger and heavier than females.

Males

Weight: 6 kg
Height: 65.0 cm
Beak: 5.85 cm
Flipper: 21.2 cm

Females

Weight: 5.43 kg
Height: 65.0 cm
Beak: 5.25 cm
Flipper: 20.4 cm

Vocalizations

Calls often are continual, loud, harsh and low-pitched, made up of loud, inharmonious pulses. Sexual calls include a trumpeting call consisting of 6-12 repeated pulses with decreasing pitch. Agonistic call is a simple clear yell without any pulse and ending in a groan or hiss.

Breeding Biology

ErectCrested

Average Arrival Date:  September 5
Average Egg Laying Date:  October 12
Incubation Period: 35 days
Chick Rearing Period:  70 days
Fledging Period:  January 20 – Februray 15
Average Annual Reproductive Success:  0.78 chick/nest
Nest: Shallow depressions on flat ground rimmed by stones usually between large boulders, occasionally lined with grass.
Age at First Breeding: 4 years
Maximum Lifespan: 18 years
Egg Weight: 83.70 grams
Egg Length: 6.81 cm
Egg Breadth: 4.71 cm
Molt: After chicks fledge, adult breeders go to sea to forage, returning after about 4 weeks to molt, which lasts from late February until early March. Non-breeders molt from early February until early March. Molt typically lasts 26-30 days, after which the birds depart colony early to mid-April.

Prey

Virtually unknown, reported to consist mainly of krill and squid.

Predators

Hooker seals, skuas and mice prey upon eggs and chicks on land. Hooker seals occasionally eat adults at sea.