Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysocome
Weight: 2–4 kg depending on gender and breeding stage
Height: 45–58 cm
Breeding age: Not well known but probably about 4 years
Breeding frequency: Annual
Breeding season: Highly variable among islands; at Heard Island from October to April
Age to fledging: 66–73 days
Longevity: Not known but probably 20+ years
Name Derivation: Rockhoppers are cousins of macaroni penguins, therefore they share the same genus name “Eudyptes”, meaning 'good diver'. “Chrysocome” means “golden haired”.
What do I eat? Lots of krill (Euphausia vallentini) and some fish
What eats me? Fur seals, leopard seals, skuas, giant petrels
Range trip time: 11–27 days
Range trip length: 95–300 (?) km
Depth of water where foraging: > 300 m
Extreme dive depth/time: Most dives go to 38 m or less, but the deepest dives recorded were to 109 m; dive duration averages around 57 ± 34 seconds. The longest dive recorded lasted 168 seconds.
Distribution and abundance
Distribution: Circumpolar, with breeding colonies widespread on subantarctic and south temperate islands in the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans.
Abundance: More than 3.5 million pairs in 1993, but since then many colonies have been shown to be decreasing.
Population status: Not globally threatened.
Some of the colonies of rockhopper penguins at Heard Island have disappeared in recent years. Causes for this are largely unknown; in other areas rockhopper penguins get killed in drift-net fishing and find commercial fishers competing for the same food.
More information can be found on other Heard Island penguin species by following the links below.