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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The erect-crested penguin is an extremely social bird that breeds in large, raucous colonies of several thousand pairs, usually alongside rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) (4) (6). This species uses a number of displays and vocalisations, utilised particularly in the courtship and breeding season and in aggressive territorial behaviour during mate matching or when defending nesting sites (3) (6). Courtship displays include an enthusiastic greeting with an open bill, vertical head swinging, trumpeting, quivering, bowing and preening (3). Aggressive displays include use of the crests, growling and barking, while direct fighting involves twisting of locked bills or biting of the enemy on the neck while beating them with the flipper (3) (6). Males usually return to the breeding site in September, and compete fiercely for prime nesting sites (6) (7). The females join the males two weeks later and work together to construct nests made of mud, stones and grass (3). Two eggs are laid in early October, although the first egg, which is noticeably smaller than the second, is usually lost (4) (6). The second egg is up to twice as large as the first, and is the only one seriously incubated (5). The male and female take turns incubating the egg for about 35 days (3) (6). After hatching, the chicks are fed regurgitated food by the female until they fledge in February. For three to four weeks the male stands guard without food while the female forages and returns daily to feed the chick (3) (6). Adults return to the sea for the (austral) winter after moulting in March (3) (7). Little is known about the feeding habits of the erect-crested penguin, but the main sources of food are thought to be krill and squid, occasionally supplemented by small fish (2) (6).
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Description

Erect-crested penguins are perhaps some of the most mysterious of all penguin species (4). This species is one of the largest of the crested penguins and shares with the Fiordland and Snares crested penguins the distinctive feature of an upward-sweeping crest of long, yellow brush-like feathers above each eye, extending from the base of the bill to the top of the head (4) (5). Unlike other crested penguins, however, the erect-crested penguin is able to raise and lower these stiff crest feathers (4). With its black back and white belly, this species sports the classic penguin 'tuxedo look'. The upper sides of the wings are black with a white edge and the lower sides are white with a black patch at the tip. Males are generally larger than females, and both sexes have long, slender beaks that are dark brown-orange in colour (3).
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Distribution

Range Description

Eudyptes sclateri breeds on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands (1 km2 and 20 km2 respectively), New Zealand. In 1978, the population on the Bounty Islands was estimated at 115,000 pairs, spread over nine tiny islands (Robertson and van Tets 1982). A survey in 1997-1998 estimated a total of 28,000 breeding pairs (Clark et al. 1998, J. Amey per A. M. Booth in litt. 1999). Census methods differed, making comparisons less useful (Taylor 2000); however, the 2011 survey shows a further 8% decline using the same methodology as in 1997-1998 (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). The population on the Antipodes in 1978 was believed to be of a similar size to the Bounty Islands in the same year. In 1995, ground surveys indicated c.49,000-57,000 pairs (Taylor 2000), representing a decline of c.50% in 20 years. The survey in 2011 shows a further decline, with c.41,000 pairs counted, representing a decline of 23% (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). The population on Campbell Island numbered 20-30 pairs in 1986-1987, but no breeding was seen. A few hundred birds bred there in the 1940s (Taylor 2000). Winter distribution at sea is largely unknown, the only records being from the Cook Strait and off the east coast of the South Island (Marchant and Higgins 1990).

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Range

Subantarctic New Zealand and Australian waters.

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Geographic Range

Eudyptes sclateri breed on the Antipodes and Bounty Islands with smaller numbers observed to breed on the Auckland and Campbell Islands. While not breeding, E. sclateri inhabit the subantarctic oceans, although the exact location during non-breeding months is unknown (Houston 1998).

Biogeographic Regions: oceanic islands (Native ); arctic ocean (Native )

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Historic Range:


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Range

The majority of the breeding population occurs on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands, with smaller numbers on the Auckland and Campbell Islands, New Zealand. The non-breeding winter distribution is spent at sea in the sub-Antarctic oceans, although the exact location is unknown (6).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Eudyptes sclateri are approximately 65 cm tall and at the maximum weight, which occurs before molting, weigh about 6.5 kg. The males are generally larger. In the adult, the coloration of the head, upper throat, and cheeks are a very dark black. There is a broad yellow stripe that starts near the face, which rises over the eye to form the erect crest. The body and upper parts, along with the tail, are blue-black while the under parts are white. The dorsal side of the flipper is blue-black with a white edge, while the ventral side is white with a black patch at the tip of the flipper. The beak is long and slim with brown-orange coloring. The chicks have gray-brown upper parts and white under parts. Juveniles have a slight coloration difference from the adults but the main defining feature is the shorter crest (Williams 1995; Barham and Barham 1996).

Average mass: 6000 g.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It nests in large, dense, conspicuous colonies, numbering thousands of pairs, on rocky terrain, often without substantial soil or vegetation, from the spray zone to 75 m elevation (Marchant and Higgins 1990, Heather and Robertson 1997). It feeds on krill and squid, and occasionally takes small fish (Heather and Robertson 1997).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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During the winter months at sea, E. sclateri remain in the cool marine waters of the subantarctic. Their exact location has never been determined. They normally breed on the rocky Antipodes, Bounty, Campbell, and Auckland Islands in colonies that also include E. chrysocome. The islands are rocky with cliffs that provide for well-protected nests. There is very little vegetation and it normally includes short grasses and shrubs. These islands are located in the subantarctic waters south of New Zealand (Williams 1995; Barham and Barham 1996).

Terrestrial Biomes: chaparral

Aquatic Biomes: benthic ; coastal

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Nests are constructed in large, dense colonies on rocky terrain, often without substantial soil or vegetation, up to 75 m above sea level (2).
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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Little is known about the feeding habits of E. sclateri but it is believed that the main sources of food are fish and crustaceans (Stonehouse 1975; Davis et.al. 1990).

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Eudyptes sclateri pairs breed in large colonies usually with rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome). The males usually return to the vicinity of the previous nesting site two weeks before the females return. The pre-egg stage is marked by lots of activity and fighting. The nest site is usually on flat rocky ground no higher than seventy meters above sea level. The female, who usually forms the nest cup, rotates on her breast and kicks and pushes dirt away from the cup with her feet. The male then usually rings the nest cup with rocks and mud and lines it with a little grass if it is available. Egg laying occurs in early October and lasts three to five days, during which time, the female fasts. The clutch normally contains two eggs with the second egg noticeably larger than the first. The eggs are normally a chalky pale blue or green and later become a light brown. After the second egg is laid, incubation begins and lasts for approximately thirty-five days. Usually, the first egg, which is smaller, is lost (at least ninety-eight percent of the time) and the second, larger egg is the only one to hatch. Males and females take turns incubating eggs. Two to three days after the eggs hatch, the female disappears and leaves the male to guard the nest. The guard stage lasts three to four weeks, during which period the male fasts and the female returns daily to feed the chick regurgitated food. The fledgling period, when the chicks leave the island, normally begins in February, at which point the chick enters adulthood (Richdale 1951; Stonehouse 1975; Muller-Schwarze 1984; Williams 1995).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Eudyptes sclateri

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2b;B2ab(i,ii,iv,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Booth, A., Hiscock, J., Houston, D. & Taylor, G.

Justification
This species is classified as Endangered because its population is estimated to have declined very rapidly over the last three generations, and it is almost certainly still declining. Furthermore, it has a very small breeding range, which many now be restricted to just two locations.

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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Threatened
Date Listed: 09/02/2010
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10) 
Where Listed: Entire


Population detail:

Population location: Entire
Listing status: T

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Eudyptes sclateri , see its USFWS Species Profile

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Scientists have observed a population decline of at least fifty percent in the last forty-five years. This species has a restricted breeding range, which leads to conservation problems. Additionally, E. sclateri does not appear on the CITES list which indicates the penguin is not being hunted or used in trading by humans.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered

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Status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).
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Population

Population
The total population is estimated at 130,000-140,000 mature individuals, based on estimates of 26,000 breeding pairs on the Bounty Islands in 2011 and 41,000 pairs on the Antipodes Islands in 2011 (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). Based on the assumption that mature individuals account for around 2/3 of the total population, there are estimated to be c.195,000-210,000 individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The reason for the large population declines is thought to be associated with marine factors affecting survivorship (Ellis et al. 1998, Taylor 2000). There are no mammalian predators on the Bounty or Antipodes Islands, except for mice on the main Antipodes Island.

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Although still fairly abundant, the erect-crested penguin is considered endangered because it is thought to have undergone significant declines of at least 50% over the last 45 years, a pattern that is only expected to continue. Furthermore, the species' very small and restricted breeding range leaves it particularly vulnerable (2). The reasons for this decline are not fully understood, but are believed to be associated with marine factors, as predation on land during the breeding season is unlikely to be significant, since there are no mammalian predators on the Bounty or Antipodes Islands, except for mice on the main Antipodes Island (2) (7).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
Cattle and sheep were eradicated from Campbell Island by 1984 and 1992 respectively (Taylor 2000). Introduced brown rats Rattus norvegicus have been successfully removed from Campbell Island, although their effect on the colony was never studied (Taylor 2000). All islands are nature reserves and part of a World Heritage Site designated in 1998.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Census a sample of Antipodes Island colonies every five years, and re-photograph photopoints from 1978 and 1995 expeditions. Census Proclamation Island (Bounty Islands) every five years. Compare aerial and ground surveys of the Bounty Islands to ascertain the viability of using the former method for monitoring colonies (Taylor 2000). Conduct detailed studies to determine foraging ranges, commercial fisheries competition, and oceanographic or climatic changes (Ellis et al. 1998).

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Conservation

All the islands on which the erect-crested penguin is found are nature reserves and, as of 1998, became part a World Heritage site. Cattle and sheep were eradicated from Campbell Island in 1984 and 1992 respectively, and introduced brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) have also been successfully removed from Campbell Island (2).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Eudyptes sclateri are of little economic importance. They are not caught for food or used in any other way by humans (Stonehouse 1975).

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Wikipedia

Erect-crested Penguin

The erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri) is a penguin from New Zealand. It breeds on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands, but individuals have been found as far away as the Falkland Islands.

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.[2][3][4] 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.

The binomial commemorates the British zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater.[5]

This species is threatened by population decline, and a 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,[1] the erect-crested penguin is listed as endangered and granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.[6]

The mascot character of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion is an erect-crested penguin named Pen Pen.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Eudyptes sclateri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ [1] (2011).
  3. ^ [2] (2011)
  4. ^ [3] (2011).
  5. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 304. 
  6. ^ Five Penguins Win U.S. Endangered Species Act Protection Turtle Island Restoration Network
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