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The Fiordland penguin is sometimes confused with the Snares penguin. Although they are nearly identical, the penguins have two distinct differences. The Fiordland penguin has white markings on its cheeks, and the Snares penguin does not. The two penguins also have different breeding cycles. Even though they both occupy the New Zealand area, they are reproductively isolated and do not interbreed. (Peterson 1979; Stonehouse 1975)

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Braswell, T. 2001. "Eudyptes pachyrhynchus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Eudyptes_pachyrhynchus.html
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Braswell, T. 2001. "Eudyptes pachyrhynchus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Eudyptes_pachyrhynchus.html
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Conservation Status

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In the mid 1980's, it was estimated that there were 5,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs of Fiordland Penguins. Currently, there are an estimated 1,000 to 2,500 breeding pairs. The populations are upset by introduced predators such as ferrets, skuas, and wekas. Natural predators include fur seals, stoats, and larger predatory fish. (Barham 2000; Stonehouse 1975)

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable

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Braswell, T. 2001. "Eudyptes pachyrhynchus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Eudyptes_pachyrhynchus.html
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Trophic Strategy

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Fiordland Penguins feed in coastal waters, particularly during the breeding season. Fiordlands have a diet consisting of crustaceans, small fish, and squid. (Barham 2000; Sparks and Soper 1987)

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Braswell, T. 2001. "Eudyptes pachyrhynchus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Eudyptes_pachyrhynchus.html
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Distribution

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Fiordland Penguins Eudyptes pachyrhynchus are found from the southwestern coast of the South Island of New Zealand, to the nearby islands of Stewart and Solander.

(Stonehouse 1975; Simpson 1976)

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Habitat

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Fiordland penguins have a pelagic aquatic habitat (open ocean). They will spend up to 75% of their lives in the ocean during the winter, as a result barnacles often attach themselves to the penguins tail. The other 25% of the Fiordlands life is spent on secluded land areas during the breeding season.

(Lynch 1997; Sparks and Soper 1987)

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

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Morphology

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The Fiordland Penguin, also known as the thick-billed penguin, has an average length of 55cm (21 in). The head and body of this penguin are black, with the exception of its white front and the white markings on its cheeks. Fiordland Penguins have a crest of brilliant yellow feathers which are visible at the base of the bill and extend over the eye. Fiordland Penguins are monomorphic, that is the male and female look alike. Fiordland Penguin chicks have gray-brown backs with white fronts.

(Barham 2000; Stonehouse 1975; Lynch 1997)

Range mass: 2000 to 5000 g.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Reproduction

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The Fiordland Penguin typically locates its breeding site inland from the coast (distances vary), with some nest sites at areas up to 100m above sea level. Nesting in loose colonies, Fiordlands locate their nests seperate and out of sight from one another. Unlike most crested penguins, the Fiordland Penguin does not nest in the open. Fiordland nests can be located in caves, under logs, at the base of trees, and under bushes (particularly away from sand flies).

Fiordland males return to the nesting sites in July, two weeks before the females. Shortly after the females arrive they mate. Soon after, the female Fiordland will lay two pale-green eggs, which incubate for 4-6 weeks. It is unusual for both of the eggs to hatch, but when they do, the parents are unable to gather enough food for both chicks. The result is the death of the smaller sibling. For the first 2-3 weeks of the chicks life, the male will stay and guard the nest while the female retrieves and regurgitates food for her young. In a couple of weeks both parents will search for food while leaving the chicks either alone or in loose creches (breeding groups). At about 75 days old, the Fiordland chicks will moult, and go to sea.

(Simpson 1976; Barham 2000)

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous

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Braswell, T. 2001. "Eudyptes pachyrhynchus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Eudyptes_pachyrhynchus.html
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Biology

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After spending much of the year alone in the open ocean, males arrive at the chosen breeding site ahead of the females during late June or July. Two weeks later the females arrive and mating takes place. The birds are monogamous and prefer their nest sites to be hidden from one another. Two pale-green eggs are laid in a cavity between tree roots, stones or small burrows in the coastal forest, and incubation takes from four to six weeks. The birds do not attempt to collect nest materials. Although it is usual for just one egg to hatch successfully, occasionally both chicks emerge. However, the parents rarely catch enough food for two offspring and the smaller chick usually dies (3). While the chick is still defenceless, one parent (usually the male), will guard it whilst the other finds food. Fiordland crested penguins feed inshore and catch crustaceans, squid and small fish which they regurgitate for the chick. Once the young is large enough to be safe from most native predators, both parents take on the role of fishing to provide their offspring with food. Chicks often wander about the nest site or gather in loose-knit crèches. After about 10 or 11 weeks, the chick moults and leaves the nest site, finally adopting the solitary pelagic lifestyle of the adult birds. It will return to breed at the age of five years (2) (3).
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Conservation

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Recent surveys of a number of the Fiordland crested penguin's breeding areas have suggested that more research into predator-related threats need to be examined. One idea is to eradicate the weka – the principal local predator – from Solander Island to reduce the losses of eggs and chicks (5).
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Description

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One of the smaller members of the penguin family, the Fiordland crested penguin has a black head, throat and back, a white front and underside, a thick stubby orange bill and pink feet. The most distinguishing features are the yellow sulphur-coloured crests above the eyes that extend from the bill to just behind the head. Both sexes are similar, whereas young birds have paler cheeks and shorter crests (2) (4). Like other members of the genus Eudyptes the Fiordland crested penguin has a black throat but can be distinguished from the similar Rockhopper, Macaroni and Royal penguins by the shape, extent and colour of the eye crests (4). The two species that can be confused with the Fiordland crested are the erect-crested penguin and the Snares Island penguin. The former has eye crests that stand proud of the top of the head and no part which extends to below the eye itself. The latter is a slightly larger bird with a thicker bill (4).
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Habitat

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Outside the breeding season, Fiordland crested penguins are birds of the open ocean. When ashore to breed they prefer secluded coastlines and chose nesting sites that are amongst rocks or have tree cover (3).
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Range

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A migratory species, found in Antarctic waters and around the southern circumpolar islands, the Fiordland penguin breeds on the coast of southwest New Zealand, Stewart Island and Solander Island (5).
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Status

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Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).
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Threats

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The Fiordland crested penguin has declined in numbers drastically during the last twenty years. In the 1980s, the global population was estimated to number 10,000 breeding pairs. Today, the number is thought to be 2,500 to 3,000 pairs. The principal cause is believed to be from introduced animals such as cats and stoats (5), although where the birds' breeding sites are close to public beaches, pet dogs are thought to be largely responsible for disturbing adult birds and catching chicks. With the increase in human leisure activities, this pressure is bound to intensify (2). There is also a problem with the endemic weka, Gallirallus australis, which preys on eggs and chicks and is thought to contribute to over a third of egg loses in some breeding areas, especially Solander Island (5). At sea, penguins are in constant competition for food with fishing vessels and sometimes find themselves caught in fishing nets. Perhaps the biggest threat, however, is through marine pollution, particularly oil spillage and the illegal but common practice of discharging oil tanker ballast water off-shore (5). As yet, little is known about the possible effects of global warming on penguin populations (5).
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Fiordland penguin

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The Fiordland penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus), also known as the Fiordland crested penguin (in Māori, tawaki or pokotiwha), is a crested penguin species endemic to New Zealand. It currently breeds along the south-western coasts of New Zealand's South Island as well as on Stewart Island/Rakiura and its outlying islands.[2] Because it originally ranged beyond Fiordland, it is sometimes referred to as the New Zealand crested penguin.[3]

Taxonomy

The Fiordland crested penguin was described in 1845 by English zoologist George Robert Gray, its specific epithet derived from the Ancient Greek pachy-/παχυ- "thick" and rhynchos/ρύγχος "beak".[4] It is one of six species in the genus Eudyptes, the generic name derived from the Ancient Greek eu/ευ "good" and dyptes/δύπτης "diver".[4]

Description

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The Fiordland penquin has a prominent yellow crest on its head

This species is a medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin, growing to approximately 60 cm (24 in) long and weighing on average 3.7 kg (8.2 lb), with a weight range of 2 to 5.95 kg (4.4 to 13.1 lb).[5] It has dark, bluish-grey upperparts with a darker head, and white underparts. Its broad, yellow eyebrow-stripe extends over the eye and drops down the neck. It can be distinguished from the similar erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri) and Snares penguin (Eudyptes robustus) in having no bare skin around the base of its bill.[6] Female Fiordland penguins lay a clutch of two eggs where the first-laid egg is much smaller than the second egg, generally hatches later, and shows higher mortality, demonstrating a brood reduction system that is unique from other avian groups.[7]

Distribution and habitat

This penguin nests in colonies among tree roots and rocks in dense temperate coastal forest. It breeds along the shores in the West Coast of the South Island, south of about Bruce Bay and the Open Bay Islands, around Fiordland and Foveaux Strait, and on Stewart Island/Rakiura and its outlying islands.[6] Fossils of this species have been found as far north as the northern end of the South Island, and they probably once nested in the North Island as well.[8] Other remains found in a 13th century Aboriginal Tasmanian midden in Hunter Island evidence that they formerly occurred out of New Zealand, as well.[9] Their range drastically reduced by hunting in Polynesian times, and they are now only found in the least-populated part of New Zealand.[3]

Diet

The main prey species reported are cephalopods (85%, mainly arrow squid, Nototodarus sloanii), followed by crustaceans (13%, primarily krill, Nyctiphanes australis) and fish (2%, mainly red cod and hoki). However, the importance of cephalopods might be exaggerated.[10] Prey taken seems to vary between Codfish Island and northern Fiordland.[11]

Conservation

Fiordland crested penguins are classed as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN,[1] and their status was changed from vulnerable to endangered by the Department of Conservation in 2013.[11] Surveys in the 1990s counted 2,500 pairs, though this was likely an underestimate; based on historic trends, the population is probably continuing to decline. The main threats are introduced predators such dogs, cats, rats, and especially stoats. They are also vulnerable to human disturbance, fleeing nests and leaving chicks exposed to predators.[11]

References

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2020). "Eudyptes pachyrhynchus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  2. ^ Mattern, Thomas (2013). "Chapter 10: Fiordland penguin Eudyptes pachyrhynchus". In Garcia-Borboroglu, Pablo & Boersma, P. Dee (eds.). Penguins: Natural History and Conservation. University of Washington Press. pp. 152–167. ISBN 0-253-34034-9.
  3. ^ a b Worthy, Trevor H.; Holdaway, Richard N. (2002). The Lost World of the Moa. Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34034-9.
  4. ^ a b Liddell, Henry George & Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.
  5. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  6. ^ a b Heather, Barrie; Robertson, Hugh (2015). The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. New Zealand: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-143-57092-9.
  7. ^ St. Clair, Colleen (1992). "Incubation Behavior, Brood Patch Formation and Obligate Brood Reduction in Fiordland Crested Penguins". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 31: 409–416. doi:10.1007/bf00170608 – via JSTOR.
  8. ^ Worthy, Trevor H. (1997). "The identification of fossil Eudyptes and Megadyptes bones at Marfell's Beach, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand". New Zealand Natural Sciences. 23: 71–85.
  9. ^ Theresa L Cole, Jonathan M Waters, Lara D Shepherd, Nicolas J Rawlence, Leo Joseph, Jamie R Wood; Ancient DNA reveals that the ‘extinct’ Hunter Island penguin (Tasidyptes hunteri) is not a distinct taxon. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, zlx043, https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx043
  10. ^ van Heezik, Y (1989). "Diet of the Fiordland Crested penguin during the post-guard phase of chick growth". Notornis. 36: 151–156.
  11. ^ a b c Ellenberg, U. (2013). Miskelly, C.M. (ed.). "Fiordland crested penguin". New Zealand Birds Online. Retrieved 23 March 2017.

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Fiordland penguin: Brief Summary

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The Fiordland penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus), also known as the Fiordland crested penguin (in Māori, tawaki or pokotiwha), is a crested penguin species endemic to New Zealand. It currently breeds along the south-western coasts of New Zealand's South Island as well as on Stewart Island/Rakiura and its outlying islands. Because it originally ranged beyond Fiordland, it is sometimes referred to as the New Zealand crested penguin.

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