Falklands Conservation Southern Rockhopper Penguin
Southern Rockhopper

Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands

Southern Rockhopper Penguin

Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome
Breeding Range: Falkland Islands, Chile and Argentina
Length: 52cm.
Falklands Population: 280,000 breeding pairs
World Population: 500,000 breeding pairs

Rockhoppers nest in colonies on rocky slopes at 36 sites around the Falklands, with this subspecies breeding only in the Falklands, Chile and Argentina. Two eggs of unequal size are laid in early November, but only the larger egg is generally successful. Chicks form small creches at 4 weeks of age, and fledge at 10 weeks in early February. Adults generally remain within 40km of the nest site during the breeding season, feeding on small fish, squid and crustaceans at depths of up to 100 metres. Breeding sites are abandoned between April and October as birds migrate northwards. Adults do not begin breeding until 4 years of age, but can live to over 25 years. Sexes are similar in appearance. The Falklands population crashed during the 1980s and early 1990s, probably due to over-fishing, and now stands at around 10% of its former size. The South American population was unaffected.

Web page created by Mike Bingham