Rockhopper Penguins

The smallest of the five species of Falkland penguins is the Rockhopper, which at 64cm tall is also the most agile of the penguins and the population is over 250,000 in Falklands summer months.  It has the distinctive yellow eyebrows which are much paler in colour than the Macaroni.

Its not hard to understand how the Rockhopper Penguin gets its name, they can be great fun to sit and watch as they make their way around the colony and too the sea to do their fishing.  They can move quite long distances and its not unusual for the colony to be several hundred feet above seal level and quite a way from the beach.  The colonies can get quite big in size and are often mixed with other species.  Most of the penguin species seem to have their own colonies (even if they are sometimes very close to other penguin species). but Rockhoppers seem to share colonies with Imperial Shags and occasionally Black-brown Albatross.


The Macaroni Penguin

The Macaroni penguin is similar to the Rockhopper penguin, but is slightly larger and has distinctive gold orange plumes on its head.  It is by far the most uncommon of the five Falkland penguin species and can only be seen in very small numbers alongside the Rockhopper colonies.  It is at the northern limits of its range as they prefer a cooler climate closer to the Antarctic.  It is however globally flourishing and there are huge numbers of Macaroni penguins further south.

Each season just a small handful of Macaroni penguins come ashore in the Falklands with the Rockhoppers.  We saw just one Macaroni penguin during our visit, which was the individual below which was seen and photographed in one of the large colonies at "the Neck" on Saunders Island.