Crested Penguins

Crested Penguins

Genus Eudyptes

A group of eight rather similar, medium sized, penguins with yellow crests and strong orange red bills. They differ mainly in the size and shape of the crest. The Rockhopper and Fjordland Crested are the smaller species, standing about 55 cm high and the Royal is the largest with a length of about 76 cm.

  • Western Rockhopper Penguin E. chrysocome.
  • Eastern Rockhopper Penguin E. filholi
  • Northern Rockhopper Penguin E. moseleyi
  • Macaroni Penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus
  • Royal Penguin Eudyptes schlegeli.
  • Fiordland Crested , Victoria, Thick-billed or New Zealand Crested Penguin Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, breeding southern New Zealand.
  • Snares Island, Snares or Snares Crested Penguin Eudyptes robustus
  • Erect Crested Penguin Eudyptes sclateri.

Evolution, taxonomy and distribution

Crested Penguins are a monophyletic group with a circumpolar distribution. Until recently six species were recognized. Some are confined to very limited breeding ranges, such as robustus (Snares Is), schlegeli (Maquarie I.), sclateri (Bounty and Antipodes Is) and pachyrhynchus (Southwestern New Zealand). A larger breeding range has chrysolophus, breeding from southernmost South America to Heard I. on many islands.
The group of the Rockhopper Penguins underwent a taxonomic revision by Banks (2006) based on genetic analysis. This led to a split into three separate species: western chrysocome, breeding Falklands and islands off South America, eastern filholi, breeding Prince Edward, Crozets, Kerguelen, Heard, Macquarie, Campbell, Auckland and Antipode Is. The northern species moseleyi, breeds at Tristan da Cunha, Gough, Amsterdam and St. Paul's Is.

Macaroni Penguin
Eudyptes chrysolophus
Falkland Islands
Courtesey of W. v. Gestel


Fiordland Crested Penguin
Eudyptes pachyrhynchus

Culmen: 49.2 mm; total: 122.9 mm
Unsexed adult.
Courtesey of M. van Leeuwen

  • Skull
  • Flight aparatus
  • Pelvis and legs
  • Vertebrae and ribs