9 Rockhopper Penguin Facts for Kids
1. The Rockhopper Penguin gets its name from their dramatic entry onto land from the water. They fly up into the air and do a little belly flop onto the rocks on shore. They are crested penguins. They are actually the smallest species of crested penguin. They reach the adult height of about 20 inches tall (including the crest) and weigh about 2-3KG.
2. They are also one of the most colorful penguins. They have red eyes, a yellow and black crest of spiked up feathers on their heads and pink feet. One of the largest colonies of the rockhopper penguin lives on the Falkland Islands.
3. They live in huge colonies that can easily number 1000 or more. They mate for life like all penguins although some scientists are researching the incidence of “remating” when one mate has died. The female lays one egg per season which takes a little over 30 days to hatch.
4. The rockhopper lives on a diet of crustaceans, krill, fish and the occasional squid. They can go long periods of time without eating and typically due when there is an egg being incubated. They are not picky eaters and will eat whatever they can find in the water when they are hungry.
5. They are small stature penguins but they have powerful flippers that allow them to swim quickly and powerfully in the water so they are able to hunt effectively.
6. Unlike other penguins the rockhopper will squabble over everything from food to nesting areas. They are very combative with each other which seem to be completely out of character for a penguin. Penguins typically have very formal social structures that they all respect but the rockhopper species of penguin does not seem to respect social order at all.
7. They are boisterous and very vocal with each other. They will “bicker” over just about everything. They do not seem to get along well with each other yet they live all together and ultimately depend on each other for survival.
8. Sadly the rockhopper has recently been added to the “watch” list for potential endangered species listing. Their natural habitat is being affected by over fishing. It is estimated that the largest colony in the Falklands has declined by over 40% in the last decade.
9. Conservation efforts have included petitions to curb some of the fishing in the area to reduce the loss of habitat and the decrease in the food supply.