3 Apr 2024

Our Changing World – Erect-crested penguins

From Afternoons, 3:35 pm on 3 April 2024
A dozen black-and-white penguins with yellow eyebrows and orange bills attempting to swim through whitewash. Some have flippers outstretched; others crane their necks out of the churning ocean.

A raft of erect-crested penguins make the bull-rush to shore on Proclamation Island, part of the Bounty Island group. Photo: © Richard Robinson

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The Bounty Islands jut out of the water like giant granite fins. Steep and sheer, with no greenery in sight. Covered instead by a mottled white – guano or bird poo from the tens of thousands of penguins and albatrosses that come here to breed.  

The least studied penguin 

The Bounty Islands is one of two remote, subantarctic island groups home to the erect-crested penguin. Stout and handsome, with bright yellow crests that look like elaborate punk rock hairdos, their remote breeding sites means they’ve not been studied in depth.  

But Dr Thomas Mattern of the Tawaki Project plans to change that.  

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