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: 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): Copson, G., Gales, R. & Garnett, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Garnett, S., McClellan, R., Stattersfield, A., Taylor, J.
Although this species has a large population which is currently thought to be stable, it is confined to a single location when breeding and as such it is prone to the effects of human activities or stochastic events within a very short time period in an uncertain future, and is thus capable of becoming Critically Endangered or even Extinct in a very short time period. It is consequently classified as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
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: Eudyptes schlegeli 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, 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. 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).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
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 eradication programme was underway, but not completed in January 2012 (R. Gales in litt. 2012). Tourists on breeding islands are managed to prevent disturbance.

Conservation 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. Control rat populations.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Eudyptes schlegeli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22697797A40184702. . Downloaded on 08 October 2015.
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