Rockhopper Penguin - Smallest of the crested penguins.

p rockhopperp rockhopper1p rockhopper2







Height: 55 cm (22 inches) for average adult.

Weight: 2 to 4 kg (4.5 to 9 lbs) for average adult.


  • Yellow “unruly eyebrows” flare out at the back of the head then continue to droopy feathers.
  • Red eyes.
  • Red-brown bill.
  • Males are slightly larger with heavier bills.
  • Juveniles covered with gray down, brown eyes, no crest.


  • Pinkish.


  • Dives for krill, amphipods, small fish and squid.


  • Tolerance of temperature enables them to breed from the Falkland Islands to just south of the Antarctic Convergence/Polar Front, South Georgia, seldom near the pack ice.
  • Live among rocks on rocky ground, rocky slopes and lava flows next to the sea.
  • Because of their colony location they often must leap out onto the exposed rocks through heavy surf to return to their nests.
  • Nests are just a few small stones.


  • Males return to the same nest as the previous year where they wait for their mate.
  • The females lay 2 eggs, one being twice as large as the other. The smaller is ejected from the nest soon after the larger second egg is laid.
  • Females are the sole provider of food for the first two or three weeks while males guard the chicks.
  • At 3 weeks the chicks join a crèche.
  • When the parents return with food they recognize their chicks both by vocalization and appearance.
  • At about 10 weeks when the chick has reached adult weight the parents return to the sea to feed and regain their weight, then return to the colony to moult before returning to the sea for winter.


  • Leopard Seals are the main predator when the adults are in the water.
  • Sheathbills steal many eggs.
  • Skuas prey upon young chicks.

Interesting Facts

  • **One of 6 Crested Penguin Species: 1. Erect-crested Penguin 2. Fiordland Penguin 3. Macaroni Penguin 4. Rockhopper Penguin 5. Royal Penguin 6. Snares Penguin
  • All 6 Crested Penguins lay 2 eggs but rear only one chick. © All rights reserved.

Top Desktop version