Macaroni Penguin

Eudyptes chrysolophus

The Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) is a species of penguin found from the Subantarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula. One of six species of crested penguin, it is very closely related to the Royal Penguin, and some authorities consider the two to be a single species. It bears a distinctive yellow crest, and the face and upperparts are black and sharply delineated from the white underparts. Adults weigh on average 5.5 kg (12 lb) and are 70 cm (28 in) in length. The male and female are similar in appearance although the male is slightly larger with a relatively larger bill. Like all penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine lifestyle.

Its diet consists of a variety of crustaceans, mainly krill, as well as small fish and cephalopods; the species consumes more marine life annually than any other species of seabird. These birds moult once a year, spending about three to four weeks ashore, before returning to the sea. Numbering up to 100,000 individuals, the breeding colonies of the Macaroni Penguin are among the largest and densest of all penguin species. After spending the summer months breeding, penguins disperse into the oceans for six months; a 2009 study found that Macaroni Penguins from Kerguelen travelled over 10,000 km (6,200 mi) in the central Indian Ocean. With about 18 million individuals, the Macaroni Penguin is the most numerous penguin species. However, widespread declines in populations have been recorded since the mid-1970s. These factors resulted in their conservation status being reclassified as vulnerable.

The Macaroni Penguin was described from the Falkland Islands in 1837 by German naturalist Johann Friedrich von Brandt. It is one of six or so species in the genus Eudyptes, collectively known as crested penguins. The genus name is derived from the Ancient Greek words eu "good", and dyptes "diver". The specific epithet chrysolophus is derived from the Greek words chryse "golden", and lophos "crest".

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