Erect-crested penguins are one of the most rare breeds of penguin species. Their funny “eye feathers” gives them a distinctly different appearance than other penguin species.
Penguin name: Erect-crested penguin
Scientific name: Eudyptes atratus
Size: About 20 inches tall
Location: The Erect-crested penguins live in the Sub-Antarctic
What Do They Eat? These guys love to find and eat small fish and krill
Main Enemies: Fur seals and Skua (predatory birds)
photo by PENO
Erect crested penguins look quite a bit different than their other penguin brothers and sisters. They have yellowish-white “brush like” feathers that reach from the top of their bills or mouths to the top of their heads. Actually, these wispy strands make them almost look like they are college professors with overgrown eyebrows. Unlike other penguins with such wispy feathers, the erect crested penguins can raise and lower these feathers. Why is that so important? Only the penguins know for sure.
While weighing only about 8 pounds apiece, these penguins group together in large colonies. Using stones and mud and grass, they make nests, where the females lay up to two eggs. The first egg rarely survives, but the second is usually twice as large as the first and is the only one that the parents spend quite a bit of effort caring for.
This penguin breed stays pretty much to itself, and are not as visible as other penguin species. They live on exposed rocks on the Bounty Islands as well as the beaches and cliffs of the Antipodes Island group. They are one of the least studied penguin species in the world.
However, this tiny little penguin can climb steep rocky cliffs in order to breed on ledges that would take professional rock climbers hours and a lot of safety equipment to reach. Finding safety on cliff faces also protects them from fur seals, their main enemies, and helps them keep a careful watch on their eggs against attacks from predatory bird species.