Description & Behavior

Snares penguins, Eudyptes robustus (Oliver, 1953), aka Snares crested penguins or Snares Islands penguins, are crested penguins that stand 40 cm tall and weigh about 3 kg. They are often confused with Fiordland crested penguins, however their patch of skin at the base of their bills helps distinguish them from the Fiordlands. Snares penguins have a black head, throat and back with white bellies. Their yellow crest begins at the base of their bills and extends to their eyes and then drops behind their heads.

World Range & Habitat

Snares penguins, Eudyptes robustus, are named for the Snares Islands where they breed. Snares penguins nest in the islands’ vegetation in dense colonies, moving to “fresh” sites while the vegetation of old sites recovers from the breeding and nesting activities.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Snares penguins, Eudyptes robustus, feed on crustaceans, cephalopods and small fishes.

Leopard seals, Hydrurga leptonyx

Adults are preyed upon by sea lions and leopard seals (above); eggs and chicks are preyed on by skuas and petrels.

Life History

Snares penguins, Eudyptes robustus, reach sexual maturity at about 6 years of age and begin the breeding season in August when the males return to the colony, followed by the females a short time later. Females lay 2 eggs in late September; the 2nd is often larger and the egg that survives incubation. Parents share brooding the newly hatched chick for about 3 weeks, with the male guarding while the female forages and feeds. This phase is followed by a period when both parents forage and feed while the chick forms crèches with other chicks nearby. Chicks fledge around 11 weeks.

Conservation Status & Comments

Snares penguins, Eudyptes robustus, are listed as Vulnerable D2 (VU) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:

A taxon is Vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

References & Further Research

Center for Biological Diversity: Penguins
Snares Crested Penguin, Eudyptes robustus – International Penguin Conservation Working Group
New Zealand Penguins, by Dave Houston

Research Eudyptes robustus @
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Search for Snares Penguins @
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