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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Fiordland Penguin: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

One of the interesting Fiordland penguin facts is that it is called Tawaki in Maori

Eudyptes pachyrhynchus are commonly known as Fiordland penguins or Fiordland crested penguins. Penguins are exclusively found in the Southern Hemisphere, and Fiordland penguins are endemic to New Zealand. They are easily identified by a unique plume of pale yellow feathers on the side of their heads. Fiordland penguins are highly social animals, but they build their nests far from each breeding pair.

These flightless birds are highly adapted to live in water and spend most of their time in the waters. Fiordland penguins are excellent divers and swimmers. They can travel up to 4349.5 mi (7000 km) in two months. The long time in the sea leads to the growth of barnacles on their bodies. Fiordland penguins spend 80% of their lives in the sea. In modern times the industrialization of fisheries has depleted the food source of Fiordland penguins forcing them to swim further from shore to forage.

Read on for more Fiordland penguin facts for kids. You may also check out the fact files on Magellanic penguins and little penguins from Kidadl.

Fiordland Penguin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Fiordland penguin?

Fiordland penguins are flightless aquatic birds that belong to the family Spheniscidae. They are a species of crested penguins. This crested penguin Fiordland is one of six species that come under the genus Eudyptes found in New Zealand. Fiordland penguin pronunciation is fiord-land pen-guin.

What class of animal does a Fiordland penguin belong to?

Fiordland penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) belong to the class Aves (birds) and order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae. Other related penguins are erect-crested penguins (Eudyptes sclateri), snares penguins (Eudyptes robustus), southern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome), eastern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes filholi), northern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi), and macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus).

How many Fiordland penguins are there in the world?

The population of Fiordland penguins is currently decreasing. According to the IUCN, the estimated number of mature individuals ranges from 12,500-50,000 penguins.

Where does a Fiordland penguin live?

Fiordland penguins live in marine or coastal areas and forests. They are endemic to New Zealand, a south island country. Fiordland crested penguins breed on the southwestern coast of the South Island in New Zealand. They are found in Fiordland, South Westland (including Bruce Bay and Open Bay Islands), Codfish, and other islands like Stewart Island, Solander Island, and outliers. New Zealand is well known as the penguin kingdom.

What is a Fiordland penguin's habitat?

Temperate coastal forests and dense shrubs are the primary habitats for Fiordland penguins. These crested penguins nest on tree roots, sea caves, and under rocks. They love to nest in the hollows under fallen trees, in boulders, or crevice habitats. They were found in the northern region of South Island, but now they are found only in less populated areas.

Who do Fiordland penguins live with?

Fiordland penguins, like all other penguins, live, swim, and feed in colonies. They live in pairs with their offspring. The colonies of Fiordland penguins are smaller. Living in colonies helps increase their survival rate. It is extremely rare to find a lone penguin. A group of penguins is called a waddle on land and a raft in the water.

How long does a Fiordland penguin live?

The average lifespan of a Fiordland crested penguin is between 10 and 20 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Fiordland penguins are egg-laying birds. They nest in small colonies that are placed 3.2-9.8 ft (1-3 m) apart in remote habitats. The breeding season begins in mid-June. Each crested penguin Fiordland lays two eggs in their nest, three to six days apart. The first egg among the two eggs is smaller. Often only the chick hatching from the bigger egg survives. But, sometimes, both chicks grow and mature successfully. The breeding pairs of penguins incubate their eggs after laying the second egg for about a month. The male and female penguins take turns incubating the eggs. In between incubation, the breeding pairs leave separately on long trips to collect food. The second egg often hatches first, in September. Parent penguins take care of their chicks from late November to December. Male penguins protect the chicks while the females feed them.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020 classifies the conservation status of Fiordland crested penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) in New Zealand as a Near Threatened species. The population of the Fiordland crested penguin is declining owing to the various invasive species, human disturbance such as roads and railroads, fishing, pollution, and climate change.

Fiordland Penguin Fun facts

What do Fiordland penguins look like?

Fiordland penguins are very shy in nature.

Mature Fiordland penguins, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, are dark blue to black with white underparts. The tail, flippers, head, and back are bluish-black. The black color turns brown during the time of molt. They have a district yellow crest that starts at the nostril and extends past the eye and down the neck. This yellow crest looks like a colorful eyebrow. Fiordland penguin chicks have thick fluffy gray down. Juveniles have a pale yellow crest and patches of gray feathers on the chest and underparts.

Fiordland penguins have a large orange bill with a stripe of black at the base. Males have broader bills than females. They have beady brownish-red eyes. Fiordland penguins have webbed feet that are pinkish and brown under the sole.

How cute are they?

Fiordland penguins are extremely cute and shy birds. Their waddle is the most adorable sight. It is a spectacle to see their colonies during the breeding season. They get easily frightened by close contact with humans.

How do they communicate?

Fiordland penguins are a very vocal and visual species. They make different types of sounds like braying, trumpeting, and growling. Their contact calls are high in pitch. These penguins also make low pitch hissing sounds. They become aggressive during the breeding season. Their courtship calls are loud, and they swing their heads from side to side as a display to the females. They communicate with each other regarding nesting territories, nest relief rituals, breeding partner and chick recognition, and defense against intruders.

How big is a Fiordland penguin?

Fiordland penguins are medium-sized birds. They grow up to 24 in (60 cm) in height. Fiordland penguins are smaller than Emperor penguins but bigger than blue penguins.

How fast can a Fiordland penguin fly?

Fiordland penguins are flightless species of birds. They can walk, jump, swim and slide on the ice. They migrate from April to June. Fiordland penguins walk with short and quick steps. They are good at climbing and are excellent divers and swimmers in the water.

How much does a Fiordland penguin weigh?

A Fiordland penguin weighs an average of 8.2 lb (3.7 kg). Their weight ranges from 4.4-13.1 lb (2-5.95 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

A male Fiordland penguin is called a cock, and a female is called a hen.

What would you call a baby Fiordland penguin?

Baby penguins are called chicks or nestlings.

What do they eat?

Fiordland penguins mainly feed on fish larvae, small fish, crustaceans, cephalopods (arrow squids), and krill. Their hunting techniques are unknown. The various introduced predators of Fiordland penguins are cats, dogs, stoats, ferrets, and wekas (an invasive species). Introduced predators like Wekas feed on the eggs of Fiordland penguins. Hooker's sea lions are predators of adult Fiordland penguins in the sea.

Are they dangerous?

Fiordland penguins are shy and timid creatures but occasionally become aggressive to each other and invaders. Display of aggression is by puffing out the white spots on their cheeks, opening the beak, pointing the head or the body forward, and hissing.

Would they make a good pet?

It is illegal to keep wild exotic bird species like Fiordland penguins as pets. Penguins will make terrible pets as they are high maintenance. They require the right temperature conditions and food. They live best with their colonies. It is not right to separate them from their group.

Did you know...

During the breeding season, Fiordland penguins fast up to six weeks between mating, laying eggs, and incubation. After incubation, they go on long foraging trips.

Fiordland penguins molt. Their baby feathers are replaced with new adult feathers at once. This process is called a 'catastrophic molt.' The old feather won't fall out until the new one has completely grown in giving the bare skin of juveniles a scruffy look.

Interesting Fiordland crested penguin facts that Maoris named Fiordland penguins Tawaki after a God of the same name. The yellow crest on the penguins' heads represents the lightning bolt of their God.

The best penguin-watching spot is in Stewart Island, New Zealand.

Why is the Fiordland penguin endangered?

Early hunting by Europeans and predation by introduced invasive species led to a decline of this species population throughout New Zealand. Marine pollution and the rise of oceans' temperature are other major threats faced by Fiordland penguins. Their mortality rate is also high due to premature hatching of eggs and introduced predators like Wekas feeding on their eggs. Severe population decline is observed recently due to human disturbances. Their conservation status is Near Threatened (NT).

Fiordland penguin crafts

How to draw a penguin:

  • Draw an inverted U for the head
  • Draw a curved line from one end of the U
  • Draw a side curve from the other end of U that joins at the bottom.
  • Draw the belly and flipper.
  • Add an eye and a beak.
  • Do not forget to add the yellow crest on top of the eye
  • Draw two feet
  • Now color your Fiordland penguin black, white and yellow.


How to make a Fiordland penguin bookmark from paper:

  • Cut a black oval-shaped penguin body.
  • Paste a large white heart on the black body.
  • Cut and paste two orange hearts for the feet and a small heart for the beak.
  • Add two white eyeballs and on top two small black pupils.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our royal penguin facts and yellow-eyed penguin facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Fiordland penguin coloring pages.

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