When was the last time something with yellow eyes stared at you? The neighbor’s cat, perhaps? Well, wait until you see the Yellow-eyes penguin looking at you! The yellow bands that surround the eyes of these penguins will certainly give you the shivers, despite their tiny size! Yellow-eyed penguins are considered to be the most rare of all penguin species. They number only about 2,000 pairs.
Scientific name: Megadyptes antipodes
Size: 24 inches tall, or about 2 feet
Location: Yellow-eyes penguins live on the southern island of the Southern Ocean and off the coast of New Zealand
What Do They Eat? These guys like fish and squid
Main enemies: Sharks, seals and land predators
Photo by A_of_DOOM
Yellow-eyed penguins weigh about 13 pounds and are about the size of the average small dog. If you ignore the intimidating band of yellow around their eyes, which gives them a mean-looking appearance, they may indeed look pretty cute with their active flippers and gestures. Their purple-red beaks and flesh colored feet give them a very odd look.
Yellow-eyed penguins spend most of their days in the water, swimming and hunting for food. Despite their small size, these penguins can dive nearly 400 feet and hold their breath for up to 4 minutes! They love to eat fish, like cod and sprat and if they find a squid, they are happy indeed.
Photo by aftab
An odd thing about these penguins is that they like to nest in trees or logs. Because of humans however, they often have to nest in the long grasses along the coastline, where they become easy prey to straying dogs, cats and even rats.
Yellow-eyed penguins are very noisy, and the native people of New Zealand, the Maoris, called them ‘Hoihos’, which means ‘noise shouter’. Good thing they know how to make noise, because it helps protect them from predators. They also live to be about 20 years old, and are one of the ‘oldest’ breed of penguins known to man.