Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes)




One of the more distinctive penguins. Easily identified with good views but (1) the unique yellow iris; (2) yellow band extending from the eye to the nape and (3) pink bill tipped with red. The crown has an attractive yellow wash streaked with black (feather shafts). Young birds have blue-gray irids which in time turn yellow. The head pattern develops when birds are 14-18 months old.

Where and When

Classified as VULNERABLE. Endemic to southern New Zealand. Breeds on the east coast of South Island (Canterbury, Otago and Southlands), Stewart Island, the Aukland Islands and Campbell Island. Generally a solitary nester, using cavities under logs or bushes.

Breeding age adults are sedentary, remaining around the breeding ground all year. The movements of subadults (2-4 calender yrs) is poorly known but may move north of nesting grounds (Russ and Shirihai 2000).


Russ, R. and Shirihai, H. (2000) The birds, marine mammals, habitat and history of the subantarctic islands off New Zealand. Alula 3(6): 82-147.

Copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Angus Wilson

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