Hoiho

Yellow-eyed Penguin

Vital Statistics

Maori names: hoiho, takaraka
Scientific name: Megadyptes antipodes (large southern diver)

The yellow-eyed penguin is the only member of the genus Megadyptes and is possibly the most ancient of all living penguins.

Height: 65 to 85 cm
Weight: 5 to 8 kg
Description: Male and female are identical in colouring. Adult has pale yellow eyes and a bright yellow band encircling the head. Juvenile lacks the yellow headband and the eyes are grey.
Food: Small fish and squid. Daily journeys to feeding grounds may take penguins up to 15 km from the shore and to depths of 100 m.
Moulting: Takes place in March and April and lasts 3-4 weeks. Penguins are unable to go to sea to feed and may lose 3-4 kg in body weight.
Breeding: Females breed at 2 to 3 years of age, males breed at 3 to 5 years of age. Two greenish white eggs are laid, size 75 x 54 mm.
Life span: up to 20 years.
Population: Recent population estimates have ranged between 900 and 1800 total breeding pairs. In 1990-91 the South Island estimate reached a low of 150 breeding pairs but by 1994-95 had increased to 420. This is not enough to support a long term population.

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