What are adjustments for macaroni penguins

Crested penguins are the largest crested penguins with an average size of 71 cm and a weight of 5 - 6 kilograms. However, this varies greatly within a year from 3.5 - 6.5 kilograms for males. Females are slightly smaller and lighter than males. They are classically colored with a black back and head and a white belly. The very strong beak is colored orange, while the feet are more pink. Younger animals already have the yellow-orange feathers, but they have a smaller, matt-colored beak. From the age of 3-4 years, the younger birds can no longer be distinguished from the older ones.

Their most prominent feature are the yellow and orange feathers, which start on the forehead and pull back over the eyes in tufts. These feathers have given them their English name “Macaroni”, as the first researchers were reminded of the members of the London “Macaroni Gentlemen’s Club”, who also preferred extravagant headgear. The feathers can be found in males and females and could be used for individual recognition. However, details are not known.

As I said, the beak is very large and massive, which could be an adaptation to the way of life in the colony. Crested penguins are very aggressive and defend their nest area with violent beak attacks in addition to loud calls and threatening gestures. Crested penguins also use their beaks for wrestling, with the opponents wedging their beaks into one another and trying to push the opponent to the ground. Behind the beak sits a striking pink featherless triangle.

Their entire body is very compact and massive compared to their relatives, the rockhopper penguins. This is very helpful for landings in rough surf, when the animals pounce on landing sites with the help of waves. Often they land chest first on the rocks, surprisingly but unharmed.

The plumage is similar to that of rockhopper penguins with strong feathers around the head area, but especially in the throat area. It is also a little denser than that of rockhopper penguins, due to their range. This is in the area of ​​the convergence line around on islands, only a few small colonies are known in the area of ​​the South Shetlands.

As with all penguins, the eyes of the golden crested penguin are very well adapted to hunting underwater. However, they are slightly larger than related species and take into account the fact that the animals are very good divers and also hunt at night towards the end of the breeding season.

Crested penguins arguing
© Michael Wenger 2012