Eudyptes schlegeli 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Sphenisciformes Spheniscidae

Scientific Name: Eudyptes schlegeli
Species Authority: Finsch, 1876
Common Name(s):
English Royal 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.
Identification information: 65-75 cm. Large, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin. Black upperparts. White underparts. Pure white to pale grey cheeks from crest to throat. Long yellow, orange and black plumes project from forehead patch back along crown and droop behind eye. Similar spp. E. schlegeli and Macaroni Penguin E. chrysolophus are the only crested penguins with crests that meet on forehead. E. chrysolophus has jet-black to dark grey cheeks and throat, but light-faced birds are also reported at some sites.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Copson, G., Gales, R., Garnett, S. & García Borboroglu, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Garnett, S., McClellan, R., Stattersfield, A., Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J
This species has a large population which is currently thought to be stable, it is confined to just three islands all in close proximity and as such it is susceptible to the effects of human activities or stochastic events. However there are currently no obvious threats that could result in the species qualifying for Critically Endangered in a short time period. The species is therefore classified as Near Threatened as it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion D2.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Vulnerable (VU)
2010 Vulnerable (VU)
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2007 Vulnerable (VU)
2005 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is confined to Macquarie Island and nearby Bishop and Clerk Islands, Australia. However, small numbers of similar-looking birds appear at other sub-Antarctic islands (such as Kerguelen Island [Duriez and Delord 2012]), indicating that it may breed elsewhere. It was heavily exploited in the 19th century, but has recovered and, in 1984-1985, an estimated 850,000 pairs were breeding on Macquarie, with an earlier count of over 1,000 pairs on Bishop and Clerk. The population is believed to be stable.

Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 130
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 130
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): 150
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In 1984-1985, the breeding population on Macquarie Island was estimated at 850,000 pairs, with an earlier count of over 1,000 pairs on Bishop and Clerk Islands (Garnett and Crowley 2000).

Trend Justification:  The population is thought to be stable, although there is no quantitative analysis to support this (Garnett and Crowley 2000, Garnett et al. 2011, R. Gales in litt. 2012).

Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 1700000 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 huge colonies on bare, level, pebbly, rocky or sandy ground. When breeding, it feeds on euphausiids, fish and squid. Its ecology and movements during the winter when away from the island are unknown (Christidis and Boles 1994).

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 14.1
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It has been argued that there is currently no plausible and serious threat to the species (Garnett et al. 2011). On land, rats take some eggs and young. Breeding success can be reduced as a result of disturbance by researchers and tourists. Marine pollution, particularly ingested plastics, kills some birds. Fishing around sub-Antarctic islands may also adversely affect the species, however during the breeding season the species forages in waters near Macquarie Island and in the Exclusive Economic Zone where fishing is strictly regulated (S. Garnett in litt. 2011). The most likely long-term threat is the effect of climate change on sea-surface temperature and food supply. Disease outbreaks represent another potential threat to the species (R. Gales in litt. 2012). Climate change and disease were recently identified as the only current threats to the species (Trathan et al. 2015).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and Research Actions Underway
In Australia the species has been evaluated as Near Threatened. Studies of foraging ecology and breeding biology have been completed. Monitoring of breeding population size and success is ongoing. Feral cats have now been eliminated from Macquarie Island. A rodent and rabbit eradication programme was undertaken on Macquarie Island (R. Gales in litt. 2012, Parks and Wildlife Service 2014). As of August 2014 there had been no signs or sightings of rabbits since December 2011, no signs or sightings of rats since May 2011 and no sightings of mice since June 2011 and no signs of them since April 2012 (Parks and Wildlife Service 2014). Tourists on breeding islands are managed to prevent disturbance.

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain an up-to-date population estimate. Determine trends in numbers. Monitor rates and effects of marine debris ingestion. Monitor the effects of fishing. Establish demographic parameters, particularly survival of different age classes. Study the potential impacts of climate change. Implement a biosecurity plan for Macquarie Island (Parks and Wildlife Service 2014).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Eudyptes schlegeli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22697797A83454995. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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