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Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysocome

These are small penguins that, with the wild plumes that emanate from above their eyes, look as though they are always having a ‘bad hair day’.

Rockhopper penguins breed throughout the sub-Antarctic, sometimes in large colonies. It is smaller than its congeners, but no less aggressive. There is some evidence that the Northern Rockhopper or Moseley’s penguin (E. c. moseleyi) is deserving of separate species status. Whatever, the Northern Rockhopper and Southern Rockhopper are clearly closely related and much of what applies to one probably holds for the other, but actual data are still scarce.

One of the endearing things about Rockhopper penguins is that they really do “hop” from rock to rock as they negotiate their way up what can often be steep cliffs that separate the sea from their breeding colonies. Although quite numerous, even now, the recent rapid declines in their numbers are cause for concern: these penguins seem particularly vulnerable to changes in the oceans associated with global warming, with its consequent changes in sea surface temperatures, water currents and the availability of prey species.