Penguin (Fiordland crested) Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
Species: E. pachyrhynchus
Binominal name: Eudyptes pachyrhynchus Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
Common name: Fiordland crested penguin, Tawaki
The Fiordland crested penguin live along the rugged coastline of New Zealand's Fiordland, South Westland and Stewart Island. They stand about 40cm and weigh around 4 kilograms. The head, throat and upperparts are black and underparts are white. The sulphur-yellow crest starts at the base of the base of the bill, extends over the eye and droops down the back of the head. Adults often have white stripes on their cheeks; juveniles have a shorter crest and pale cheeks.
The Fiordland crested penguin breeding season lasts from July until December. They mate for life and return to the same nest every year. The female lays two eggs which are incubated by the male until they hatch. The second egg hatches first. If both chicks hatch, the smaller first-egg chick is unable to compete for food and usually dies. They are unique among penguins because they choose to build their nests in caves, under overhangs, at the base of trees or in dense vegetation deep beneath lush rainforests. Little is known about the diet of the Fiordland crested penguin, but it is thought that they feed inshore, particularly during the breeding season.
In the publicly accessible nesting sites dogs have been a cause of population decline. Elsewhere, cats, stoats and ferrets contribute more to chick mortality. The population is currently estimated to be around 3,000 breeding pairs but little information is available on population trends.
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