Birdorable Yellow-eyed Penguin

Birdorable Yellow-eyed Penguin

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.

Yellow-eyed Penguin photo

Yellow-eyed Penguin by Kimberley Collins (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Yellow-eyed Penguin photo

Yellow-eyed Penguin by Bernard Spragg (public domain)

Birdorable 190: Rockhopper Penguin

Cute Birdorable Rockhopper Penguin

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:

Preview of Birdorable 191

Fun Adelie Penguin Facts

Birdorable Adelie Penguins

Here are some fun facts about the Adélie Penguin, a species that captures the essence of the Antarctic's unique wildlife:

  • The Adélie Penguin holds the distinction of being the smallest penguin species residing in the Antarctic. Despite their diminutive size, they are hardy and well-adapted to the harsh conditions of their icy habitat.
  • Known for their southern breeding range, Adélie Penguins nest and raise their chicks farther south than any other penguin species, showcasing their incredible adaptability to extreme cold.
  • These resilient birds have a lifespan that can reach up to 20 years old, demonstrating remarkable endurance in one of the planet's most challenging environments.
  • Adélie Penguin colonies vary widely in size, ranging from as few as 100 pairs to as many as 250,000 pairs. These large congregations highlight their social nature and the importance of community for survival.
  • Globally, there are approximately 5 million Adélie Penguins, spread across 38 different colonies. While this number may seem large, it's worth noting that over the last 25 years, their population has decreased by 65%. This decline is attributed to factors like sea ice reduction and food scarcity.
  • The Adélie Penguin was named in 1840 by French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville, who chose to honor his wife, Adélie, with this nomenclature.
  • Adélie Penguins have made appearances in popular culture, most notably in animated films. They are presumed to be the penguin characters in the 2005 film "Madagascar." In the 2006 movie "Happy Feet," the main character, an Emperor Penguin, befriends a group of Adélie Penguins, uniquely characterized by a Mexican accent.

These fascinating facts about Adélie Penguins offer a glimpse into the life of one of Antarctica's most charming inhabitants, highlighting both their unique characteristics and the challenges they face in an ever-changing environment.

Adelie Penguins photo

Adelie Penguins by Gregory Smith (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

Cute Adelie Penguin Gifts

Welcoming the Emperor Penguin to the Birdorable Family

Cute Birdorable Emperor Penguin

The Emperor Penguin has recently waddled its way into our hearts and onto the Birdorable website. Standing as the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species, these majestic birds can grow up to an impressive 48 inches in height. But their size isn't the only thing that's impressive about them. Emperor Penguins are also unparalleled divers, capable of reaching depths of 1,755 feet and holding their breath for up to 18 minutes. This incredible ability allows them to dive deep into the icy waters of Antarctica to hunt for fish, krill, and other seafood, which makes up their diet.

Emperor Penguins and chick by Christoper Michel (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Living in one of the harshest environments on Earth, the Emperor Penguin's life is nothing short of extraordinary. Each year, these penguins undertake a remarkable journey that tests the limits of their endurance. They travel between 31 to 75 miles across the icy Antarctic terrain to reach their breeding colonies. This trek isn't just a leisurely walk in the snow; it's a vital part of their lifecycle, ensuring they reach the place where they can mate and raise their chicks in the safety of numbers. Once there, thousands of individuals gather, forming large colonies that buzz with the activities of mating, egg-laying, and chick-rearing.

The breeding cycle of the Emperor Penguin is as fascinating as it is unique. In the dead of the Antarctic winter, the female lays a single egg and then embarks on a lengthy journey back to the sea to feed. Meanwhile, the male takes on the critical role of keeping the egg warm. He does this by balancing it on his feet and covering it with a special fold of skin known as a brood pouch. During this time, the males fast, relying on their fat reserves to survive the brutal cold and winds. This period of waiting and warming the egg illustrates the Emperor Penguin's incredible resilience and dedication to their offspring.

Emperor Penguins by Christopher Michel (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Perhaps one of the most endearing aspects of the Emperor Penguin's life is their communal approach to survival. Huddling together to share warmth and protect each other from the Antarctic cold, they take turns moving to the center of the huddle, ensuring that no individual is left to endure the chill for too long. 

Their extraordinary life and survival strategies have made Emperor Penguins the stars of documentaries and films, most notably the award-winning "March of the Penguins" (2005). This film brings to light the incredible journey and challenges faced by these penguins, capturing the hearts of audiences around the world and drawing attention to the beauty and fragility of Antarctic ecosystems.

We're thrilled to welcome the Emperor Penguin into the Birdorable family. This amazing bird highlights how amazing nature can be and why it's so important to protect these incredible animals and the places they live. So, whether you love watching birds, care about the environment, or just like adorable animals, the Emperor Penguin is bound to grab your attention and make you love nature even more.

Cute Emperor Penguin Gifts