Eudyptes chrysolophus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Eudyptes chrysolophus
Species Authority: (Brandt, 1837)
Common Name(s):
English Macaroni Penguin
French Gorfou doré

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bce+3bce+4bce ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Crawford, R., Croxall, J., Micol, T., Nisbet, I. & Weimerskirsch, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Calvert, R., Capper, D., Ekstrom, J., McClellan, R., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because the global population appears to have declined rapidly over the last three generations (36 years). The primary drivers of declines are uncertain but could include climatic variation and competition for food from commercial fisheries.

2012 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eudyptes chrysolophus breeds in at least 258 colonies at c.55 breeding sites (Crossin et al. 2013), including southern Chile, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia (Georgia del Sur) and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Sandwich del Sur), the South Orkney and South Shetland Islands, Bouvet Island (to Norway), Prince Edward and Marion Islands (South Africa), Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands (French Southern Territories), Heard and McDonald Islands (to Australia) and very locally on the Antarctic Peninsula. The global population is estimated at 6.3 million breeding pairs, with key populations on Isles Crozet (2,200,000 pairs, including 1 million on Ilots des Pingouins), Kerguelen (1.8 million pairs), Heard Island (1 million pairs), South Georgia (1 million pairs) and Marion Island (290,000 pairs).

Previously, the global population had been estimated at c.9 million pairs (Woehler 1993, Ellis et al. 1998). The South Georgia and Bouvet populations probably increased substantially in the 1960s and early 1970s, but have subsequently decreased. At South Georgia, c.5 million pairs were estimated in the 1980s, falling to c.2.7 million pairs in the mid 1990s and to <1 million pairs in 2002 (Crossin et al. 2013). Volcanic activity eliminated a colony of c.1 million pairs on McDonald Island, although satellite images show unidentified penguins that may be recolonising individuals of this species (Crossin et al. 2013). Surveys on Heard Island (c.1 million pairs) suggest a decrease owing to losses in some smaller colonies. The population at Marion has decreased by over 30% from 434,000 pairs in 1994-1995 to 290,000 pairs in 2008-2009 (Crawford et al. 2009), and 267,000 pairs in 2012-2013 (Dyer and Crawford in press). However, populations on Kerguelen increased by c.1% per annum between 1962 and 1985, and subsequent data from 1998 indicated that colonies were stable or increasing (H. Weimerskirch per T. Micol in litt. 1999). Populations in South America may be stable but data are few.

Satellite tracking of individuals during winter revealed that individuals from Kerguelen spent most of their time in a previously unrecognised foraging area, i.e. a narrow latitudinal band (47-49 degrees S) within the central Indian Ocean (70-110 degrees E), corresponding oceanographically to the Polar Frontal Zone (Bost et al. 2009).

Antarctica; Argentina; Bouvet Island; Chile; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); French Southern Territories; Heard Island and McDonald Islands; South Africa; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Brazil; New Zealand; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated at 6.3 million breeding pairs in at least 258 colonies at c.55 breeding sites (Crossin et al. 2013), with key populations on Isles Crozet (2,200,000 pairs, including 1 million on Ilots des Pingouins), Kerguelen (1.8 million pairs), Heard Island (1 million pairs), South Georgia (1 million pairs) and Marion Island (290,000 pairs).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It nests on level to steep ground, often walking hundreds of metres across steep screes to nest-sites. Breeding areas usually have little or no vegetation due to erosion by birds. It feeds mainly on small krill (Marchant and Higgins 1990), although individuals from the Kerguelen Islands foraging in the Indian Ocean during winter do not feed on krill, taking other crustaceans instead (Bost et al. 2009).

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Known threats at its main breeding grounds are those common to all Southern Ocean species, such as the existing and potential impact of commercial fishing, and ocean warming (Ellis et al. 1998), although oil pollution is no longer considered a likely threat (I. C. T. Nisbet in litt. 2010). The numbers breeding in colonies on Marion Island have shown declines following disease outbreaks (Cooper et al. 2009). Invasive mammals including cats, mice and rabbits are present on a number of sub-Antarctic islands but their impact on the species is not known (Crossin et al. 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Long-term monitoring programmes are in place at several breeding colonies (Ellis et al. 1998). Most breeding islands are protected as reserves of various kinds and Heard and McDonald Islands are a World Heritage Site.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey or resurvey all main breeding populations at major breeding sites, and research its distribution outside breeding season. Maintain monitoring programmes at selected sites. Conduct research into its demography, reproductive performance and foraging ecology (Ellis et al. 1998). Investigate the impacts of disease outbreaks on Marion Island and elsewhere (see Cooper et al. 2009).

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Eudyptes chrysolophus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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