Catarrhactes chrysolophus Brandt, 1837, Falkland Islands.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Crested penguin, royal penguin; French: Gorfou dorй; German: Goldschopfpinguin, Haubenpinguin; Spanish: Pengьino Macarrones.
27.9 in (71 cm); male weight 8.2–14.1 lb (3,720–6,410 g); female weight 7.0–12.6 lb (3,180–5,700 g). Comical appearance, with long, yellow and orange plumes like shaggy eyebrows growing from a patch in the center of the forehead. Males noticeably larger than females but plumage similar. Head and cheeks are black or dark gray; back is slate black with blue sheen; breast, belly, and rump patch are white. Bill is stout and dark orange-brown, often ridged in older birds. Eyes are garnet red. Juveniles are smaller than adults and have lighter plumage, smaller and more scattered crest feathers, and a more slender bill.
Breeds farther south than other eudyptids, on Antarctic Peninsula and on Antarctic and subantarctic islands. In non-breeding season, probably remains in subantarctic waters.
Often nests on steep, rough terrain with little or no vegetation, including lava flows and scree slopes.
Forms colonies of 100 to more than 100,000 birds. Birds on neighboring nests often fight by bill-jousting. A courting male collects pebbles and places them at female’s feet. Mated pairs engage in mutual preening of feathers. Very noisy and aggressive in breeding colonies; after females begin incubating, males go to sea and females may then be attacked by unmated males. When birds return from foraging, harsh braying calls are essential for recognition between mates and between parent and chick. Parents take turns incubating and brooding young.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Typically dives to 66–330 ft (20–100 m) in pursuit of prey; mean dive duration 1.48 minutes. In one study, estimated prey capture rates were 4.0–16.0 krill per dive and up to 50 amphipods per dive. At first, young are fed krill exclusively; gradually, small fish and squid are added to the diet. In the last week before the chick becomes independent, parents feed it only fish and squid.
Female alone scrapes out depression to serve as nest; both members of the pair line nest with pebbles. Eggs rough-textured with faint blue tinge. Egg laying tightly synchronized within colonies; first-laid egg is small, weighing 61–64% of second egg, which is laid 3.2 days later. First egg almost always lost or destroyed; if second egg is destroyed, normal, healthy chick may hatch from first egg. Incubation period is 35–37 days from laying of second egg. Males guard chicks for about 20 days after hatching, when young birds form crиches. Both parents continue to feed their offspring until independence at 60–70 days.
Listed as Vulnerable because the world population appears to have decreased by at least 20% over a 36-year period. Designation was based on extrapolation from a small amount of data, so large-scale surveys will be needed to confirm this penguin’s status.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Communities in the Falkland Islands formerly observed November 9 as a holiday on which children were excused from school to collect the eggs of macaroni and other penguins.
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