Fun Macaroni Penguin Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
May 11, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
One of the best macaroni penguin facts is that its name comes from the distinct yellow feathers on its head

Macaronipenguins belong to the Spheniscidae family and Aves class. They come under the category of birds and they have feathers but they cannot fly. They, however, have other main characteristics of birds, including a beak, eggs, feathers, bone structure, and wings.

The common name of these animals came about thanks to their colorful crest. The macaroni penguin is one of six crested penguins with an identifying crest on its forehead and an orange beak. This crest distinguishes them from other birds, and also makes them one of the most beautiful birds out there.

They are 27-28 in (69-71 cm) tall and weigh about 9-14 lb (4-6 kg). Macaroni penguins live in groups that are known as colonies and their diet includes mainly krill, crustaceans, small fish, and squid.

They normally lay two eggs in November, which are and incubated by both parents (male and female) in shifts. Eggs generally hatch in 33 to 37 days.

These penguins are neither friendly nor harmful to humans. You can learn more about them here and read our guides to the African penguin or royal penguin to learn about different penguins.

Macaroni Penguin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a macaroni penguin?

The macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) comes under the category of birds. They are penguins in the order Sphenisciformes that are usually found in South Georgia and in other sub-Antarctic territories, usually in the cold temperatures.

What class of animal does a macaroni penguin belong to?

Eudyptes chrysolophus penguins belongs to the Aves class. They do have wings, but they can't fly.

How many macaroni penguins are there in the world?

According to reports from different centers and organizations, the world population of Macaroni Penguins is estimated at 18 million. There has been a widespread decline in their population since the mid-'70s and the conservation status of this penguin is classified as Vulnerable. The main threats to this species include global warming and pollution. Predators are also a major threat.

Where does a macaroni penguin live?

The macaroni penguin is generally found near oceans. These animals prefer to live in cold and snowy weather so macaroni penguins are found from the sub-Antarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Willis Island is the main breeding center of macaroni penguins in South Georgia. The macaroni is a crested penguin that is found in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and in other sub-Antarctic regions. It is one of six species in the genus Eudyptes.

What is a macaroni penguin's habitat?

The typical macaroni penguin habitat is rocky, cold, and icy. They live near water in sub-Antarctic locations, on rocks and cliffs above and near the ocean and the sea. They love to live in cold temperatures. Macaroni penguins are migratory and are rarely found near land during the non-breeding seasons.

Who do macaroni penguins live with?

Macaroni penguins live in groups that are known as colonies. The population of macaroni penguins is only 18 million in the world and their colonies can contain more than 100,000 penguins each.

Living in a large group is beneficial for them because groups are another way in which these birds are protected from predators, which are a major threat to them otherwise.

How long does a macaroni penguin live?

Macaroni penguins from the family Spheniscidae are believed to live for between eight and 15 years in the wild. Macaroni penguins have poor eyesight on land, but their eyes are adaptive to excellent underwater vision. This helps them avoid the main predators of the macaroni penguin like the killer whale and the leopard seal.

How do they reproduce?

Different species of penguins generally have different breeding seasons and places. Macaroni penguins can be found from the sub-Antarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula and usually prefer to live on cliffs above the ocean but for breeding, they shift to more stable land, including mud or gravel.

They begin breeding in the month of October towards the end.

The average litter size of macaroni penguins is two eggs. These two eggs are laid in November and incubated by both parents (as penguins form breeding pairs) in shifts, hatching in just 33 to 37 days.

Macaroni penguins usually assemble in huge colonies on land for breeding. They breed in at least 216 colonies at 50 sites, including the South Sandwich Islands, South Orkney, the South Shetland Islands, the Crozet Islands, and the McDonald Islands.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the macaroni penguin of the Sphenisciformes family is Vulnerable. According to the IUCN, the population of these animals has declined noticeably in the past 36 years.

Macaroni Penguin Fun Facts

What do macaroni penguins look like?

The height of a macaroni penguin is about27-28 in (69-71 cm) and they weigh 9-14 lb (4-6 kg). They have black upperparts, white underparts, and cute different yellow plumes on their heads. They look closely similar to royal penguins but have a black chin rather than a white one.

*Please note that this is an image of a rockhopper penguin, not a macaroni penguin. If you have an image of a macaroni penguin, please let us know at

How cute are they?

They are extremely cute and adorable. The yellow crest on their head enhances their beauty and makes them more distinct than any other penguin. Along with their cute body postures and features, they are also characterized by a dinky reddish-orange bill which is super cute.

How do they communicate?

Macaroni penguins have very different and complex ways through which they communicate. They make loud screeching sounds, may flap their wings, and nod their heads. They also communicate using their body postures and bow, gesture, or preen with their fins.

How big is a macaroni penguin?

A macaroni penguin averages about 27-28 in (69-71 cm) in length and weighs 9-14 lb (4-6 kg). If we compare and analyze the macaroni penguin vs rockhopper penguin, the macaroni penguin is slightly larger. If we compare the macaroni penguin with the emperor penguin, the emperor penguin is five or six times larger than the macaroni penguin.

How fast can a macaroni penguin swim?

Macaroni penguins usually swim at about 9.3 mph (15 kph) but can reach bursts of 15 mph (24 kph).

How much does a macaroni penguin weigh?

They weigh about 9-14 lb (4-6 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

In the order Sphenisciformes of penguins, adult male penguins are known as cocks and female macaroni penguins are known as hens. When penguins are on land their group is called a waddle, whereas the same group on the water is called a raft.

Both male and female macaroni penguins look quite similar but the male is slightly larger and stronger and comparatively has a larger bill of reddish-orange color.

What would you call a baby macaroni penguin?

A macaroni penguin baby is known as a chick. Macaroni chicks, like other penguins' chicks, live on the land to keep each other warm as chicks require warmer weather compared to adult penguins. After about two months, the colony returns to the sea.

Macaroni penguin chicks commonly have fuzzy feathers which help to keep them warm. They look quite furry, but a chick does not actually have fur because they have feathers. They have a beautiful yellow crest on their upper head too, of course!

What do macaroni penguins eat?

The diet of macaroni penguins includes mainly krill, crustaceans, small fish, and squid. They are carnivores and this penguin species eat tons of krill per year and are the largest consumers of marine resources of all sea birds.

Are they friendly?

They are considered anti-social animals, which means it's not a good idea to try and befriend them. They don't like touching and hugging and may bite if they feel threatened.

They also have very sharp beaks that feel more like clamps. Macaroni penguins are neither friendly nor harmful to humans, but the farther you stay away from them, the better.

Would they make a good pet?

The conservation status of the macaroni penguin is Vulnerable and they are so carefully protected that there is no way anyone can own them as a pet.

Did you know...

One of the best macaroni penguin facts for kids is that macaroni penguins got their name from sailors in the 18th century. The orange crest that these birds have, reminded sailors of the word 'maloni', which was used to describe people who dressed in bright and colorful ways.

In addition, these sailors were reminded of the man in the famous song 'Yankee Doodle', hence the name.

Another fun fact is that most penguin breeding pairs are monogamous, and they usually return to the same nest each breeding season.

What other penguin is the macaroni penguin closely related to?

Macaroni penguins are one of eight species of crested penguins. They are very closely related to the royal penguin. Macaroni penguins and royal penguins both have the same yellow crest on their heads and macaroni penguins, like other penguins, have eye-brow stripes too.

How do macaroni penguins communicate with each other?

Macaroni penguins have different and complex ways through which they communicate. They make loud screeching sounds, may flap their wings, and nod their heads. They also communicate through body language by bowing to each other.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the gentoo penguin, or chinstrap penguin.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our macaroni penguin coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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