Eastern rockhopper penguin

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Eastern rockhopper penguin
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Eudyptes
E. c. filholi
Trinomial name
Eudyptes chrysocome filholi
Hutton, 1878

Eudyptes filholi

The eastern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome filholi) although genetically different[1][2] is still often considered a subspecies of the southern rockhopper penguin. This species of penguin is also known to be one of the smallest species of penguins as they are approximately 45–55 cm in length, and weighing 2.2–4.3 kg.[3] The adult eastern rockhopper penguins feed on small fish, octopus, squid, and krill-like crustaceans.[4]


The rockhopper penguin Eudyptes chrysocome is sometimes considered two species, northern and southern rockhopper penguin, after research published in 2006 demonstrated morphological, vocal and genetic differences between the two populations.[5][1] Molecular datings suggest that the genetic divergence with the southern rockhopper penguin may have been caused by a vicariant event caused by a shift in the position of the Subtropical Front during the mid-Pleistocene climate transition.[6] Analysis of a part of a mitochondrial control region from a northern rockhopper penguin found on the Kerguelen Islands showed that it may have come from Gough Island, 6,000 km away, and that the southern and northern rockhoppers are genetically separate, though some individuals may disperse from their breeding colonies.[7] Many taxonomists have yet to recognize the split, although some are beginning to do so.


E. c. filholi breeds on the sub-Antarctic islands of the Indo-Pacific Ocean: Prince Edward, Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard, Macquarie, Campbell, Auckland, and the Antipodes Islands.


  1. ^ a b Jonathan Banks; Amy Van Buren; Yves Cherel; James B. Whitfield (2006). "Genetic evidence for three species of Rockhopper Penguins, Eudyptes chrysocome". Polar Biology. 30 (1): 61–67. doi:10.1007/s00300-006-0160-3.
  2. ^ Marc de Dinechin; Richard Ottvall; Petra Quillfeldt; Pierre Jouventin (2009). "Speciation chronology of rockhopper penguins inferred from molecular, geological and palaeoceanographic data". Journal of Biogeography. 36 (4): 693–702. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.02014.x.
  3. ^ Morrison, Kyle W.; Battley, Phil F.; Sagar, Paul M.; Thompson, David R. (2015). "Population dynamics of Eastern Rockhopper Penguins on Campbell Island in relation to sea surface temperature 1942–2012: Current warming hiatus pauses a long-term decline". Polar Biology. 38 (2): 163–177. doi:10.1007/s00300-014-1575-x.
  4. ^ “Eastern Rockhopper Penguin | New Zealand Birds Online.” New Zealand Birds Online - The Digital Encyclopaedia of New Zealand Birds, http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/eastern-rockhopper-penguin.
  5. ^ Jouventin P., Cuthbert R.J., Ottvall R. (2006). Genetic isolation and divergence in sexual traits: evidence for the Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi being a sibling species. Molecular Ecology 15:3413-3423.
  6. ^ de Dinechin, M., Ottvall R., Quillfeldt P. & Jouventin P. (2009). Speciation chronology of northern rockhopper penguins inferred from molecular, geological and palaeoceanographic data. Journal of Biogeography 36(4):693–702.
  7. ^ de Dinechin M., Pincemy G., Jouventin P. (2007) A northern rockhopper penguin unveils dispersion pathways in the Southern Ocean Polar Biology. 31(1):113-115

Further reading[edit]

Morrison, K.W; Battley, P.F; Sagar, P.M (February 2015). "Population dynamics of Eastern Rockhopper Penguins on Campbell Island in relation to sea surface temperature 1942-2012: current warming hiatus pauses a long-term decline". Biodiversity Conservation. 38 (2): 163–177. doi:10.1007/s00300-014-1575-x.

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