Eudyptes pachyrhynchus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
Species Authority: Gray, 1845
Common Name(s):
English Fiordland Penguin, Fiordland Crested Penguin
Taxonomic Notes: Eudyptes pachyrhynchus and E. robustus (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) are retained as separate species contra Christidis and Boles (2008) who include robustus as a subspecies of E. pachyrhynchus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2be+3bce+4bce;C1+2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Taylor, G.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Allinson, T, Benstead, P., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Taylor, J.
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small population which is estimated to have undergone a continuing rapid reduction over the last three generations, based on trend data from a few sites and a variety of threats, especially introduced predators, and this negative trend is projected to continue.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eudyptes pachyrhynchus nests on Stewart Island and several of its offshore islands, Solander Island and on the west to south-west coast of the South Island, New Zealand. The population is estimated at 2,500-3,000 breeding pairs, mostly nesting on predator-free islands, and divided into 12 major, fragmented breeding sites with c.100 nests or more (McLean et al. 1997). Numbers appear to be declining in some populations, principally those on the mainland where predators have the greatest impact. At Open Bay Island, there was a decline of 33% between 1988 and 1995 (Ellis et al. 1998), and at Dusky Sound there were "thousands" of birds in 1900 but only a few hundred in the 1990s (Russ et al. 1992). Non-breeding dispersal patterns at sea are largely unknown.

New Zealand
Argentina; Australia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population has been estimated at c.5,000-6,000 mature individuals (McLean et al. 1997).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It breeds in loose colonies along stretches of coastline in habitats ranging from mature temperate rainforest and dense scrub, to coastal caves and rocky shorelines. Penguins arrive at their breeding sites from mid-June onwards, with most nests established by mid-July. Two eggs are laid, which are incubated by both parents and hatch after 33 days (Warham 1974). Chicks fledge around mid- to late November. The diet is poorly known, but is thought to include fish, squid, octopus and krill (Heather and Robertson 1997).

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The endemic Weka Gallirallus australis has been introduced to several islands where it preys on eggs and chicks - causing up to 38% of egg mortality and 20% of chick mortality on Open Bay Island (Ellis et al. 1998). Other predators include dogs (particularly during moulting when adults are confined to the shore for 20-30 days), cats, stoat Mustela erminea and rats (Marchant and Higgins 1990, Heather and Robertson 1997, Ellis et al. 1998). Birds are disturbed by humans at nest-sites, killed on roads, and may be accidentally captured in set-nets. Marine perturbations can cause substantial changes in prey abundance, and a future rise in sea temperatures could have a similar effect. Squid fisheries potentially compete for food (Ellis et al. 1998). A marine farm is planned for the Jackson's Bay area where 10% of the population of this species is found (Anon 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The Open Bay Island population has been the focus of several recent studies. The Department of Conservation had planned to monitor all colonies for five years followed by five years rest, but, owing to difficulties censusing the species because pairs within colonies are well dispersed under tree-cover, and because disturbance by surveyors was thought to be increasing predation rate, only a selection of colonies are partially monitored every two years.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey areas of coastline not surveyed in the 1990s. Quantify the effect of predators on island and mainland sites (Ellis et al. 1998). Eradicate G. australis from Big Solander Island (Taylor 2000). Complete a detailed study on foraging ecology to identify potential competition with commercial fisheries and the effects of climatic variation (Ellis et al. 1998). Establish guidelines to control visitor access to colonies. Obtain legal protection for accessible colony sites (Taylor 2000).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Eudyptes pachyrhynchus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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