The Yellow-eyed Penguin is native to New Zealand, where it is also called Hoiho. There are only about 4,000 of these cute penguins left and it is considered one of the world's rarest penguins. Threats include habitat degradation and the introducion of predators, like wild cats and ferrets. In spring 2004, a disease killed off 60% of yellow-eyed Penguins on the Otago peninsula and in North Otago. The disease was described as diphtheritic stomatitis, but that is just a secondary infection while the primary pathegen remains unknown. A similar problem has affected another population on Stewart Island, where in six years about 70% of the penguin chicks died from a mystery illness. A reserve protecting more than 10% of the mainland population was established in 2007 in the Catlins by the Department of Conservation and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust. A 12km coastal reserve in the Catlins in the south of New Zealand's South Island was established in 2007 for the protection of the Yellow-eyed Penguin by the Department of Conservation.
Both photos by Crimson Kiwi (from Flickr)
The Birdorable Bonanza continues with our 190th Birdorable: the Rockhopper Penguin. There are actually three species of Rockhopper Penguins -- Southern, Northern and Eastern -- that until recently were considered conspecific under the name Eudyptes chrysocome. The Southern Rockhopper Penguins are thought to have a global population of about 1 million pairs, two-thirds of these breeding on the Falkland Islands off Argentina and southern Chile. Their breeding colonies in South America are a popular tourist destination. Some of the characters in the animated feature film Surf's Up are Rockhoppers and one of the characters voiced by Robin Williams in Happy Feet is a Rockhopper as well. :)
Until the 31st of July we'll be adding a new bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza until we reach #200 at the end of this month. Here's a preview of tomorrow's bird:
Here are some fun facts about Adélie Penguins:
- The Adélie Penguin is the smallest species of penguin to be found in the Antarctic;
- Adélie Penguins breed and raise their young farther south than any other penguin;
- Adélie Penguins can live to be up to 20 years old;
- A colony of Adélie Penguins can be made up of 100 to 250,000 pairs of birds;
- There are about 5 million Adélie Penguins in the world living in 38 different colonies (that seems like a lot, but in the last 25 years Adélie penguin populations have dropped by 65% due to sea ice reduction and scarcity of food);
- The Adélie Penguin was named in 1840 by French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville after his wife, Adélie;
- The penguins in the 2005 animated feature film Madagascar are presumed to be Adélie Penguins, and the main character in the 2006 film Happy Feet is an Emperor Penguin who befriends a group of Adélie Penguins with a Mexican accent.
Photo by Mark van de Wouw
This week we've added the Emperor Penguin to the site. Did you know that Emperor Penguins are the largest of all penguins and can grow up to 48 inches in height? They are also the deepest divers of any birds, reaching depths of 1,755 feet and holding their breath for up to 18 minutes! They are most famous for the incredible journeys they make each year in order to mate and to feed their offspring. They trek 31 to 75 miles through the harsh Antarctic winter to breeding colonies with thousands of other individuals. You should really see the March of the Penguins (2005), if you haven't already. It's an incredible movie.