The erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri) is a penguin known only from New Zealand, where it breeds on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands, although previously also known from Campbell Island. It has black upper parts, white underparts and a yellow eye stripe and crest. It spends the winter at sea and little is known about its biology and breeding habits. Populations have declined during the last few decades of the twentieth century, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it as being "endangered".
This is a small-to-medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin, at 50–70 cm (20–28 in) and weighing 2.5–6 kg (5.5–13.2 lb). As in all penguin species, the male is slightly larger than the female and the birds weigh the most prior to moulting. It has bluish-black to jet black upperparts and white underparts, and a broad, bright yellow eyebrow-stripe which extends over the eye to form a short, erect crest.
Its biology is poorly studied and only little information about the species has emerged in the past decades. Erect-crested penguins nest in large colonies on rocky terrain. It presumably feeds on mainly krill and squid like other crested penguin species.
It breeds on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands and spends the winter at sea. Individuals have been found as far away as the Falkland Islands and it is also a vagrant to Argentina, Antarctica and Australia. At one time it used to breed on Campbell Island but has not been recorded breeding there since the 1980s.
Populations of this species have declined drastically in the last few decades and it is threatened by further population decline because of its small breeding range, restricted to two locations. The current population is estimated at 130,000 to 140,000. In addition to being listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List, the erect-crested penguin is listed as endangered and granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The mascot character of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion is an erect-crested penguin named Pen Pen.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Eudyptes sclateri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
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- Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 304.
- Five Penguins Win U.S. Endangered Species Act Protection Turtle Island Restoration Network