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Rockhopper Penguin

Rockhopper penguins are smaller penguins, which are also very aggressive, and are named as they hop from rock to rock, moving around their environment. The rockhoppers breed in colder, southern temperatures, including the Macquarie Island, the Falklands, Campbell Island, Tristan da Cunha, and the Antipodes. The rockhopper penguin’s popularity has gone down, bringing it to endangered status. On average, rockhopper penguins will for up to ten years or less.

Rockhoppers are recognizable by the signature crest feathers on their heads, with bright red bills, and tiny red eyes. Unlike other birds, both the males and females have the same coloring, while typically male birds are brighter and vibrant than the female birds. The male Rockhopper penguins are also still much larger when compared to the females. The top of the Rockhopper’s rather large head has spiky black feathers, as well as a thicker, squatter neck, a streamlined, thinner shape, a wedge-shaped tail, and flippers for wings.

Rockhoppers have webbed feet, and strong flippers that help them swim and dive after their prey. The rockhopper will dive after lantern fish, crustaceans, krill, and squid as well. Their adept jumping abilities allow them to leave and enter the ocean to return to their nests.

Rockhoppers tend to breed during the summer months, making rocky nests within boulders off the shoreline. Female Rockhoppers lay two eggs at a time, although the first egg that is laid will sometimes become lost, or not hatch at all. Both the males and females work to warm the eggs and keep them safe. By the time March rolls around, the eggs hatch.

The rockhopper colonies are usually very small when you compare them to other groups and varieties of penguins. The rockhopper is known for being a very loud bird, and they use their loud calls to mark where they will be nesting, who they will be mating with, and what they use to create their nests. They also use their voice to warn one another about impending threats and potential predators.  The rockhopper penguins also express themselves by preening, bowing, waving their wings and flippers, and shaking their heads.

Some of the predators that the Rockhopper penguin needs to look out for include fur seals, leopard seals, as well as several varieties of sharks. Babies, as well as rockhopper eggs, need to look out for petrels, Kelp gulls, as well as skuas.

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