Zoology A closer look: Eudyptes Chrysocome

Discussion in 'Zoology' started by drlau, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. drlau

    drlau Premium Member

    Common name:
    Rockhopper Penguin

    Scientific Classification:
    Phylum Chordata
    Subphylum Vertebrata
    Class Aves
    Order Sphenisciformes
    Family Spheniscidae
    Genus Eudyptes
    Species Eudyptes Chrysocome

    Penguins are perhaps among the best-known birds on Earth, although ironically at first glance they scarcely seem to belong to that class. All are built around a similar body pattern, being flightless with long flippers instead of wings and having webbed feet. While appearing somewhat clumsy on land, in the water they are superb, agile and fast swimmers. They prey on marine invertebrates such as krill and small squid, as well as small fish depending on the species of the penguin.

    Basic Information:
    Rockhopper Penguins are found on islands in the southern ocean, such as the Falkland Islands, and they live more to the north than other penguins that inhabit Antarctica. They inhabit the neotropical parts of the Atlantic ocean.

    Rockhoppers live in high grasses called tussocks, where they make burrows and nest. Also, as their name implies, they live in rocky areas. Temperate grassland and temperate coastal biomes are their main habitats.

    The crested penguins (genus Eudyptes), such as the rockhopper and macaroni, are distinguished by orange or yellow feather crests on the sides of the head, above the eyes. The eyes of Rockhopper penguins are red. Like many animals, penguins have a nictitating membrane, sometimes called a third eyelid. This is a clear covering that protects the eye from injury.

    Penguins are very sociable animals. It is very rare to see one alone. Rockhoppers are the most aggressive, as well as the most numerous, penguins. Their loud cry, "ecstatic vocalization", is used to announce their presence, attract a mate or state their territory. As well as vocalizing, these birds shake their heads and cause their yellow eyebrows to fly into a "halo" in order to attract a mate. They hide their heads under their wing while they rest. Rockhoppers leave the breeding colony in late summer or fall and spend 3-5 months at sea, where they find food.

    A Rockhopper's diet is composed mainly of krill. It also eats squid and other crustaceans. A penguin finds food during daily trips to the sea. While the male penguin sits on the incubating egg, he is nourished by the female, or else he fasts for the entire period. If the female does not return with food for the chick once it has hatched, the male produces "penguin's milk" from his digestive system and regurgitates it for the baby.

    A penguin wing is called a flipper. It is a hard, rigid paddle covered with tiny stiff feathers that are not waterproof (unlike the feathers on the rest of a penguin body). A penguin flipper has a shape comparable to an airplane's wing.

    Birds normally have hollow bones, since little weight helps in flying. Due to the shape of their wings, normal birds only gain speed by the down stroke. Penguins however have solid bones, which are heavier. This helps in buoyancy. In addition, penguins gain speed by both the up and down strokes of their flippers. Because a penguin flipper is so hard, it is also used as a weapon in penguin discussions or fights.

    Penguins sometimes spread their wings away from their body. This allows them to cool down on a hot day. Heat can flow away from their flippers since this is practically the only part of the body (together with the feet) that doesn't have a thick plumage to conserve heat.

    Shiny feathers uniformly overlap to cover a penguin's skin. Feathers are highly specialized -- short, broad, and closely spaced, helping to keep water away from the skin. Tufts of down on the feather shafts contribute to the insulative properties of the feathers.

    Penguins have more feathers than most other birds, with about 70 feathers per square inch (6.4 sq. cm).

    Most penguin species go through one complete molt (shed their feathers) each year, usually after the breeding season.
    • Molting is an essential function, as feathers wear out during the year. Feathers become worn when penguins rub against each other, come in contact with the ground and water, and regularly preen (clean, rearrange, and oil) their feathers.
    • The new feather grows under the old one, pushing it out. The old feather does not fall out until the new one is completely in place. The molt is patchy and can give individual penguins a scruffy look.
    • During the molt, feathers lose some of their insulating and waterproofing capabilities, and penguins stay out of the water until their plumage is restored to optimum condition.
    • Depending on the species, the average length of the molt varies from 13 days for the Galapagos penguin to 34 for the emperor penguin.
    • Because penguins don't enter the water to feed during a molt, they fast. Before their molt, they build a fat layer, which provides energy until the molt is over.

    Chicks, juveniles, and immature penguins may have slightly different markings than adults. Generally, they appear more drab. Adult markings take a year or longer to develop.

    Generally, penguins are not sexually dimorphic; males and females look alike. Crested penguins are exceptions: the males are more robust and have larger bills.

    During the breeding season, female penguins are sometimes identifiable by muddy footprints on their backs, left by males during mating activity. :o

    Excessive fishing may affect penguin populations. Oil and water pollution harm the birds, but so far have not posed a very big threat to the penguins.
    Natural enemies of the penguin include leopard seals, killer whales, and, in the case of young chicks and eggs, skuas.

    Portions: University of Michigan's Animal Diversity Web
  2. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    They always look so mad lol. Ill get a banner up soon :roll::roll::roll:

  3. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    I cannot add to this anymore. But, just wanted to let ya know that this was definately informative and glad you posted it! Definately quality posting at its best! :up:
  4. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    You're doing a great job DrLau! (I pronounce as Dr. Loud :cheers: )

    How about we go a little further? Like add in pictures, anatomy. I love animals... It's even better if I know how they looks like.
  5. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    wish granted tablet

  6. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    Later I'll bring those creature to life in 3D. :)

    How you got it soo fast?

    What on earth??? you give them potion tooo?
  7. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    the ablitiy came with the same super potion i took to make me SUPER princess of the rings.

  8. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    Because she is the Super Princess of the Rings!

    Did you need to ask? ;)

    Pineapple... that is scary... same thought... You are now becoming sleeeeeeeepy..... BWAHAHA :o :lol::lol:
  9. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    hehe, Seth already told me he will have nightmares from those eyes.

  10. drlau

    drlau Premium Member

    Thanks again, pineapple, for the wonderful banners you have created for this whole series of "A Closer Look"!

    VERY much appreciated!!

  11. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    Pleasure is all mine. No problem at all making these, you keep writing them, ill keep decorating them! (and that goes for anyone)

  12. Zsandmann

    Zsandmann Premium Member

    Are these the penguins that give stones to females to find a mate?
  13. drlau

    drlau Premium Member

    I'm not sure that the Rockhopper does that, but Adlie penguins do.

    Typical of penguins that use stones to build their nests, I guess.