Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysolophus
Size: About 25 inches tall
Location: Macaronis live on islands around Antarctica
What Do They Eat? Fish, krill and squid are among their favorite foods
Main Enemies: Killer whales, leopard seals and predatory birds
Photo by flashinglens
In spite of their odd name, Macaroni penguins are not named for pasta or spaghetti. As a matter of fact, they are named after men from the 1700s who wore a special kind of hat called” macaroni” hats!
Photo by ASOC Pictures
Macaroni penguins are quite special. Weighing only 11 pounds, these colorful penguins certainly look different from many of their cousins. Bright orange beaks and a yellow tuft of feathered hair on top of their head gives them a comical, though regal appearance.
Macaroni penguins are a subtype of the crested penguin species. While black and white like their cousins, their colorful yellow head feathers set them apart. Their bellies are completely white.
Macaroni penguins, which number over 10 million pairs, are one of the largest groups of crested penguins in the world. They prefer colder waters and temperatures and are perfectly at home in water as well as on rocky shores. These penguins are quite good at diving and can dive to depths of 200 feet or more. Despite the depth of their dives, they usually don’t stay underwater for more than a couple of minutes. Now, that’s some fast swimming!
During their breeding season, Macaroni penguins lay two eggs, but it is the second that is most likely to hatch because it is larger in size. After three or four weeks, the chick will hatch. Male penguins care for their babies while the momma penguins look for food. When they are about a month old, the chicks are gathered into a nursery where they group together for warmth and safety while their parents hunt for food.
After about ten weeks, Macaroni penguins are able to fend for themselves, when they begin to grow and look much like the rest of the adults in the colony.