Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Sphenisciformes Spheniscidae

Scientific Name: Eudyptes robustus
Species Authority: Oliver, 1953
Common Name(s):
English Snares Penguin, Snares Islands Penguin, Snares Crested Penguin
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
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.

Identification information: 60 cm. Medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin. Dark blue-black upperparts, head, neck. White underparts. Bright yellow, thin stripe from above eye to form drooping, bushy crest behind eye. Bare pink skin at base of large red-brown bill. Similar spp. Erect-crested Penguin E. sclateri is taller with erectile, bushy crests. Fiordland Penguin E. pachyrhynchus lacks pink bare skin at base of bill, crest feathers usually shorter, whitish stripes often on cheeks.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Bell, B., Hiscock, J., Houston, D., Mattern, T., McClelland, P. & Weeber, B.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Allinson, T, Benstead, P., Calvert, R., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Taylor, J.
This species is classified as Vulnerable because it is restricted to one extremely small island group and hence is susceptible to stochastic events and human activities. Population trends are not clear, but if it is shown to be undergoing any decline, as is happening in some congeners, the species should be uplisted to Critically Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Vulnerable (VU)
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2005 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eudyptes robustus breeds on the Snares Islands (3 km2), 200 km south of New Zealand. The population was estimated at 23,250 breeding pairs in 1985-1986; 19,000 on North-East Island, 3,500 on Broughton and 750 on the Western Chain islets. In 2000, 25,861 pairs were counted on North-East Island and 4,000 on Broughton (Amey et al. 2001). The 2008 survey produced counts of 21,819 nests on North-East Island and 4,234 nests on Broughton, suggesting that the species had experienced a poor breeding year in line with that observed in the other seabird species present; a repeat survey in 2010 found 25,905 nests on North-East Island and 5,161 nests on Broughton (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). The population is considered stable (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). The wintering range is largely unknown, although occasional records from the waters off Tasmania and South Australia suggest a movement towards Australia (D. Houston in litt. 2008).

Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Argentina; Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Present - origin uncertain:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 3
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 3
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 1
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 70
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A survey in 2010 found 25,905 nests on North-East Island and 5,161 nests on Broughton (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012), suggesting that there are c.31,000 pairs, or c.62,000 mature individuals. This is assumed to equate to a total population of c.93,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  Surveys suggest that the population is stable or perhaps increasing (Amey et al. 2001, Mattern et al. 2009, J. Hiscock in litt. 2012).

Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 62000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It nests in dense colonies, of usually between 50 and 500 pairs (mean 200, range 1-1,305 [Department of Conservation unpubl. data]), mostly under the forest on North-East Island, but otherwise in the open (P. J. McClelland in litt. 1999, J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). Chicks are fed on krill (60%), fish (30%) and squid (10%), and that there are indications that fish and squid play a more important role in the diet of adults (Mattern et al. 2009). In the breeding season, the species forages predominantly in the Subtropical Convergence Zone during the incubation period and within a 50-km radius to the north of the Snares Islands after hatching (Mattern 2012). It may first breed at four years of age and the oldest known bird lived to 20 years (Heather and Robertson 1997). The yellow crest of the species may serve as a condition-dependent indicator to conspecifics, thus potentially a signal of social status or attractiveness (McGraw et al. 2009).

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 11.1
Movement patterns: Full Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats are commercial fisheries, oceanographic changes, and oil spills (Mattern 2012). There are no introduced predators on the Snares Islands and consequently the possibility of the accidental introduction of mammals is a continual concern (B. D. Bell verbally 1993). The Snares Islands are the site of a large squid fishery, which may be in competition with the species (Ellis et al. 1998). Other Eudyptes species in the region are presently undergoing major declines (E. sclateri, E. chrysocome), perhaps due to oceanic warming and the associated change in distribution of prey species (Ellis et al. 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The islands are nature reserves and part of a World Heritage Site declared in 1998. Landing is by permit only (D. Houston in litt. 2008).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Census all breeding colonies during incubation period. Complete regular counts every 10 years to monitor trends in the population (Taylor 2000). Turn World Heritage Site territorial seas (out to 12 nautical miles) into a marine reserve and restrict all fishing (B. Weeber in litt. 2000).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Eudyptes robustus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22697782A40180123. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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