The Fiordland Crested Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus), also known as Tawaki (Maori), is a species of crested penguin from New Zealand. It breeds along the Fiordland coast and its outlying islands as well as on Stewart Island/Rakiura.
Also known as the Fiordland Crested Penguin, the Fiordland Penguin was described in 1845 by English zoologist George Robert Gray, its specific epithet derived from the Ancient Greek pachy-/????- 'thick' and rhynchos/?????? 'beak'. It is one of six species in the genus Eudyptes, the generic name derived from the Ancient Greek eu/?? 'good' and dyptes/?????? 'diver'.
They are medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguins, growing to approximately 60 cm (24 in) long and weighing about 3.7 kg (8.2 lbs). It has dark, bluish-grey upperparts with a darker head, and white underparts. It has a broad, yellow eyebrow-stripe which extends over the eye and drops down the neck. Most birds have 3-6 whitish stripes on the face.
Distribution and habitat
This penguin nests in colonies in dense temperate forest. It breeds along the Fiordland coast and its outlying islands as well as on Stewart Island/Rakiura.
The main prey species reported for Fiordland penguins are cephalopods (85%, mainly Arrow squid, Nototodarus sloanii), followed by crustaceans (13%, primarily Krill, Nyctiphanes australis) and fish (2%, mainly Red Cod and Hoki). However, the importance of cephalopods might be exaggerated.
The current status of this penguin is vulnerable due to its small population. Current population estimates range between 2,500-3,000 pairs and is thought to have declined since the late 1980s by around 33%. It is under threat from introduced predators including dogs, cats, stoats and rats.