What Are Some Rockhopper Penguin Facts?


Quick Answer

The rockhopper penguin is characterized by the crest located on the top of its head that has spiky black and yellow feathers. It also has unique, bright red eyes and pink feet. This variety is the smallest of all penguins, reaching only 22 inches in height and weighing between 4 and 6 pounds. It lives in the Indian Ocean and the southern Atlantic Ocean on rocky islands.

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Full Answer

The rockhopper penguin received its name because, when returning to the shore from the ocean, it dives out of the water onto the rocks to land on its belly. When it dives back into the ocean, it jumps with its feet first rather than its head first.

When it's time to reproduce, rockhoppers gather into a large colony that contains thousands of birds. Once they gather, the rockhoppers build burrows. A rockhopper breeds with the same mate each year and uses the same nest. Once the eggs are laid, both parents keep them warm until they hatch.

Rockhopper penguins have the largest population of any species of penguin, but they are considered a vulnerable animal population because of habitat loss, climate change, pollution and over-fishing. Climate change and global warming have melted the ice on the rocky islands these birds call home, reducing available space.

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