The erect crested penguin is only found in the New Zealand subantarctic region, primarily on the Antipodes and Bounty Islands, with smaller populations found around the Auckland and Campbell islands. Juveniles are sometimes found moulting on the New Zealand mainland.
After a trip to the Bounty Islands in 1936, Guthrie-Smith writes: “In one minute the ship was diffused with the reek of the rocks, the strong oleaginous phosphatic smell so typical of penguin and petrel communities. An unceasing yammer, a low clacking growl, filled our ears. Around us the rollers broke white on submerged reefs, on shelves barely awash, or blanketed themselves green on heaving screens of the huge bull kelp that flourishes in these southern seas and which must enormously retard the erosion of the cliffs of all the subantarctic islands. In front lay mass after mass of rock, each block a separate enity, disjoined from its neighbor by a narrow gut through which the combers endlessly poured themselves.
“On island after island there was no yard not thronged with birds, not pied with penguins white and steel blue; they are the great crested penguins, Catarrhactes sclateri, standing when heads are raised, nearly or quite three feet, with golden crests, golden bands above the eye and snowy expanse of breast and belly; they are indeed splendid birds.
“Sheltered in some degree by reefs to the south, by islands to the east, spread an expanse of calm waters, the washpool of this strange community. In its grey blue depths thousands upon thousands of splashing penguins jostled one another like seasoning logs in timber booms. Diving, rising, preening themselves, their enormous numbers stirred the agitated surface into a simmer.”
The World Heritage site of the New Zealand sub-Antarctic Islands consist of five island groups, the Snares, Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands and Campbell Island, in the Southern Ocean south-east of New Zealand. The islands, lying between the Antarctic and Subtropical Convergences and the seas, have a high level of productivity, biodiversity, wildlife population densities and endemism among birds, plants and invertebrates. They are particularly notable for the large number and diversity of pelagic seabirds and penguins that nest there. There are 126 bird species in total, including 40 seabirds of which five breed nowhere else in the world.
Greytown, Wairarapa, 2006
Other common names: —
Eudyptes atratus, black penguin, Tawaki, big crested penguin, Catarrhactes sclateri.
60 cm., 4.5 kg.
Where to find: —
Breeds on Antipodes, Bounty Islands and Auckland Islands.
Youtube video —
Credit for the photograph: —
Illustration description: —
Buller, Walter Lawry, Birds of New Zealand, 1888.
Proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1888, artist, Smit, J.
Guthrie-Smith, H., Sorrows and Joys of a NZ Naturalist, 1936
Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.
Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.
Page date & version: —
Sunday, 10 October, 2010; ver2009v1