|Scientific Name:||Eudyptes moseleyi|
|Species Authority:||Mathews & Iredale, 1921|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Eudyptes chrysocome (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into E. chrysocome and E. moseleyi following Jouventin et al. (2006) on the basis of clear morphological, vocal and genetic terms, and this treatment has been accepted here following a review by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group. However, although E. filholi has been proposed as a split from E. chrysocome by Banks et al. (2006), both the sample sizes and the degree of morphological difference are small and this view is not accepted here.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Endangered A2acde+3cde+4acde ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Cuthbert, R. & Hilton, G.|
This species has been classified as Endangered owing to very rapid population decreases over the last three generations (30 years) throughout its range. Precise reasons for the declines are poorly known, but changes in sea temperature, competition and incidental capture in fisheries and introduced predators are all likely to be implicated.
Eudyptes moseleyi is found in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean. It has a restricted breeding range, occurring on just seven islands with a total land area of 250 km2. The majority are found on Gough Island and islands in the Tristan da Cunha group (St Helena to UK), with 83,000 pairs on Middle Island (2009), 64,700 pairs on Gough (2006), 25,000 pairs on Nightingale (2009), 54,000 pairs on Inaccessible (2009) and 6,700 pairs on Tristan (2009) (BirdLife International 2010, BirdLife International 2012). The rest of the population is found in the India Ocean with 24,890 pairs on Amsterdam Island and 9,023 pairs on St Paul Island (French Southern Territories). Early records indicate that millions of penguins used to occur on both Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island. Approximately 2 million pairs (98%) were lost from Gough Island between 1955 and 2006 and Tristan da Cunha is thought to have held hundreds of thousands of pairs in the 1870s, which were reduced to around 5,000 pairs by 1955 (Cuthbert et al. 2009). The breeding colonies on Amsterdam and St Paul Islands have reduced in size by 40% (Guinard et al. 1998). Population modelling, based on those breeding sites that have been accurately surveyed, indicates that over the past 37 years (= 3 generations) the number of Northern Rockhopper Penguins has declined by 57% (Birdlife International 2010).
Native:French Southern Territories (the); Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The population is estimated at around 265,000 breeding pairs (Birdlife International 2010, BirdLife International 2012). The majority are found on Gough Island and islands in the Tristan da Cunha group (St Helena to UK), with 83,000 pairs on Middle Island (2009), 64,700 pairs on Gough (2006), 25,000 pairs on Nightingale (2009), 54,000 pairs on Inaccessible (2009) and 6,700 pairs on Tristan (2009) (BirdLife International 2010, BirdLife International 2012). The rest of the population is found in the India Ocean with 24,890 pairs on Amsterdam Island (1993) and 9,023 pairs on St Paul Island (1993) (French Southern Territories). Several populations have experienced major long-term population crashes. Approximately 2 million pairs (98%) were lost from Gough Island between 1955 and 2006 and Tristan da Cunha is thought to have held hundreds of thousands of pairs in the 1870s, which were reduced to around 5,000 pairs by 1955 (Cuthbert et al. 2009). The breeding colonies on Amsterdam and St Paul Islands have reduced in size by 40% (Guinard et al. 1998). Population modelling, based on those breeding sites that have been accurately surveyed, indicates that over the past 37 years (= 3 generations) the number of Northern Rockhopper Penguins has declined by 57% (Birdlife International 2010).|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
Adults arrive at the breeding colonies in late July and August. Nests are located in a variety of habitats ranging from open boulder-strewn beaches on Gough Island to among stands of tussock grass (mainly Spartina arundinacea) on Nightingale and Inaccessible islands (Cuthbert 2012). They feed mainly on krill. Other prey items include other crustaceans, squid, octopus and fish (Williams 1995).
Egg collection was common at some colonies until the 1950s, such as on Tristan da Cunha, and may continue on Nightingale, perhaps causing decreases (Richardson 1984, P. G. Ryan in litt. 1999). Penguins were taken historically as bait for use in crab pots at a number of sites, including at St Paul (Indian Ocean) and Tristan da Cunha. The only reported cases of major predation by invasive species are feral pigs on Tristan and Inaccessible (where pigs were eradicated in 1873 and 1930, respectively). Domestic and feral dogs were also reported to be a problem on Tristan da Cunha (BirdLife International 2010). Food supplies may be affected by squid fisheries, climate change and shifts in marine food webs (Cunningham and Moors 1994, Guinard et al. 1998, Hilton et al. 2006). Increasing disturbance and pollution results from ecotourism and fishing (Ellis et al. 1998). Driftnet fishing and rock-lobster fisheries have caused significant mortality (Ryan and Cooper 1991, P. G. Ryan in litt. 1999). One possible ‘top-down’ effect on the eudyptid penguins is competition with pinnipeds–especially subantarctic fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis (Barlow et al. 2002). In early 2011, a cargo ship ran aground on Nightingale Island. The resultant oil spill reached Inaccessible Island and Tristan more than 30km away. Early indications are that the impact on the breeding population has not been as severe as initially feared (BirdLife International 2012).
Conservation Actions Underway
Regular monitoring is, or will be, undertaken on Tristan da Cunha, Gough, Amsterdam and St Paul Islands (Cuthbert and Sommer 2004, Cuthbert and Sommer 2004). Several ecological and demographic studies have been undertaken (Ellis et al. 1998, Guinard et al. 1998). Many islands with breeding colonies are reserves. An International Species Action Plan and a series of Regional Action Plans have been developed (BirdLife International 2010). Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue or start to monitor all populations to assess trends. Conduct long-term demographic studies to understand the causes of current decline (BirdLife International 2010). Conduct research into spatial and temporal links between population trends, sea surface temperature and primary productivity (BirdLife International 2010). Conduct studies to assess interactions with commercial fisheries (Ryan and Cooper 1991). Study the potential impacts of climate change. Assess the threat from introduced predators.
Barlow, K. E., Boyd, I. L., Croxall, J. P., Reid, K., Staniland, I. J. and Brierley, A. S. 2002. Are penguins and seals in competition for Antarctic krill at South Georgia? Marine Biology 140: 205-213.
BirdLife International. 2010. Rockhopper Penguins: a plan for research and conservation action to investigate and address population changes. Proceedings of an International Workshop, Edinburgh, 3-5 June 2008.
BirdLife International. 2012. First assessment of Endangered Northern Rockhopper Penguins since 2011 oil spill. Available at: http://www.birdlife.org/community/2012/02/first-assessment-of-endangered-northern-rockhopper-penguins-since-2011-oil-spill/.
Cunningham, D. M.; Moors, P. J. 1994. The decline of Rockhopper Penguins Eudyptes chrysocome at Campbell Island, Southern Ocean and the influence of rising sea temperatures. Emu 94: 27-36.
Cuthbert, R. 2012. Northern Rockhopper Penguin. In: García Borboroglu, P. G. and Boersma, P. D. (eds), Biology and Conservation of the World’s penguins, UW Press, Seattle U.S.A. (in press).
Cuthbert, R. and Sommer, S. E. 2004. Gough Island bird monitoring manual. RSPB Research Report.
Cuthbert, R.; Cooper, J.; Burle, M.-H.; Glass, C. J.; Glass, J. P.; Glass, S.; Glass, T.; Hilton, G. M.; Sommer, E. S.; Wanless, R. M.; Ryan, P. G. 2009. Population trends and conservation status of the Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi at Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island. Bird Conservation International 19(1): 109-120.
Ellis, S.; Croxall, J. P.; Cooper, J. 1998. Penguin conservation assessment and management plan: report from the workshop held 8-9 September 1996, Cape Town, South Africa. IUCN/SSC, Apple Valley, USA.
Guinard, E.; Weimerskirch, H.; Jouventin, P. 1998. Population changes and demography of the northern Rockhopper Penguin on Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands. Colonial Waterbirds 21: 222-228.
Hilton, G. M., Thompson, D. R., Sagar, P. M., Cuthbert, R. J., Cherel, Y. and Bury, S. J. 2006. A stable isotopic investigation into the causes of decline in a sub-Antarctic predator, the rockhopper penguin Eudyptes chrysocome. Global Change Biology 12(4): 611-625.
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 June 2012).
Jouventin, P.; Cuthbert, R.J.; Ottvall, R. 2006. Genetic isolation and divergence in sexual traits: evidence for the Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi being a sibling species. Molecular Ecology 15(11): 3413-3423.
Richardson, M. E. 1984. Aspects of the ornithology of the Tristan da Cunha group and Gough Island, 1972-1974. Cormorant 12: 123-201.
Ryan, P. G.; Cooper, J. 1991. Rockhopper Penguins and other marine life threatened by driftnet fisheries at Tristan da Cunha. Oryx 25: 76-79.
Williams, T. D. 1995. The penguins Spheniscidae. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Eudyptes moseleyi. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 May 2013.|
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