Macaroni Penguin 411
By: Anneliese

The Macaroni Penguin is unusual because of the long, colorful feathers on its head.
They are  similar to Royal Penguins because they both have yellow and black plumes joining on the top of their heads. The only difference is that the Macaroni Penguin has solid black feathers on the cheeks and under the chin on the throat, while the Royal Penguins have white chins. There are large breeding colonies of Macaroni Penguins on the Sub- Antartic Islands of South Georgia, Crozet, Kerguelen, Herd and McDonald Islands. Colonies are also located on the small islands off  the southern tips of South America and Africa.
Having solid, dense bones helps penguins overcome buoyancy.

Diet: Macaroni Penguins eat mostly krill with small amounts of squid. They also feed in groups.
Apperence: Macaroni Penguins have yellow and black plumes joining on their head, they are the worlds smallest penguins and averaging 52 centimeters , and weigh up to 3 kg, they also have pink feet and a pink  bill. Females are slighty smaller than males. Macaroni Penguins build a crude nest by scraping a shallow hole in mud or gravel among rocks. The first egg laid is smaller and less likely to hatch. It is often lost to predators and fighting that occurs in the large breeding colonies.

The second egg is larger and more likely to hatch. The incubation, keeping the egg warm, is done by both male and female in long shifts. The egg usually hatches within 33 to 37 days. The male cares for the newly hatched chick for 23 to 25 days while the female brings food daily. At this time chicks have a down covering and they form groups with other chicks called "creches" for warmth and protection. The parents will feel them every 1 to 2 days until they have their adult feathers and are ready to go on their own. This takes place in about 60 to 70 days.
    Some adaptations of the Macaroni Penguin are: A Macaroni Penguin usually sleeps with it's bill tucked behind a flipper, and another adaptation is before diving they inhale and dive on 1 breath!
    The conservation status of a Macaroni Penguin is common. There are an estimated total population of 12 million breeding pairs of Macaoni penguins.

Sea lions and Orca are predators of the Macaroni Penguin. Gulls, Skua and other sea birds often take eggs.

The young penguin mates after it reaches the age of 6 years. It may live to be 10 years old.

The adult penguins molt, or shed their feathers, each year after mating. This process is slow and gradual and takes several weeks. After their new feathers replace the molted feathers, the penguins enter the water and probably migrate northward to warmer waters.

Special thanks to:
Marine Bio