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Macaroni Penguins

 (Eudyptes chrysolopus)


                                Macaroni Penguins photograph by the Pete and Barb




Domain: Eukarya

Kingdom: Animilia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Sphenisciformes

Family: Spheniscidae

Genus: Eudyptes

Species: (Eudyptes Chlorophyes)

Macaroni Penguins


         The story behind the classification:  

 All organisms found in the Domain Eukarya are multi-cellular with a nuclear organelle, as are the Eudyptes chorolphyes.  The Kingdom Animilia contains multi-celluar organisms which ingest other organisms for food, making them heterotrophic, a trait of the Macaroni Penguins.  The Phylum Chordata contains protochordates and vertebrates, distinguished by a dorsal, and hollow nerve cord.  These penguins are also apart of the Class Aves, which contains strictly birds.  The Order Sphenisciformes contains penguins that are mainly in the S hemisphere chiefly in the Antarctic. The family Spheniscidae compromises all existing Penguins known today.  The genus Eudyptes means "beautiful diver" and consists of penguins that have yellow crest feathers.  All those part of the Species Macaroni, (Eudyptes Chorolphyes), are Macaroni Penguins and consist of the traits that are further explained on this page, and the ones linked. 



Phylogenetic Tree

Macaroni Penguins and Its Closely Related Relatives


 Phylogenetic Tree Provided by:

 Brown, Joseph W. 2007. Spenisciformes.Spheniscidae. Penguins. Version 21 March 2007(temporary. in The Tree of Life  Project.


                                    Macaroni Penguins photograph by Pete and Barb




Habitat and Geography:

      Macaroni Penguins spend most of their time at sea in the Arctic waters, unless the breeding season is upon them.  Between the months of September and November, this particular species of penguins can be found on 50 known sites in the South Atlantic and South Indian Oceans, with one breeding site on the Antarctic Peninsula.  Some of the main breeding islands include Crozet, Heard, McDonald, Kervguelen, and South Georgia. Some have also been found off the Southern tips of South Africa and South America.   During the winter months, penguins that are in the South migrate to the warmer North latitudes.  Wanderers have been found as far as South Africa.  There is not much known about the lifestyle of Macaroni Penguins while at sea, for most of the research that has been done has been at or around the breeding sites.   




       Macaroni penguins generally return to their breeding sites between the months of September and November each year, with the males arriving before the females.  Macaroni penguins are monogamous.  They breed in colonies on rocky coasts and low cliffs, with nesting densities ranging from .7 to 1.4 nests per square inch.  The nests are as simple as a scrape in the ground.  A mature female is able to reproduce at around the age of 5, but the male waits until the age of 6.  Courting is done by the male pumping his heart several times, with his head upwards and flippers outwards, and projecting a harsh, loud, braying sound.  Once the mate is picked, two eggs are laid, but one is usually bigger than the other, and only one will hatch.  The first egg that is laid is smaller and weaker than the second and is typically lost to predators and fights that may occur within the breeding colonies.  If both eggs are lost, these penguins do not relay.  Incubation of the egg is taken in three shifts; about a total of thirty-three to thirty-seven days.  The first shift, which lasts about 8-12 days, is usually done by both the male and female.  The 2nd shift, which lasts about 12-14 days, is commonly done by the male, while the female forages at sea.  During this time, the egg usually hatches.  For the third shift, the male goes to forage at sea, while the female cares for the young penguin.  Within 24 days of hatching, the young penguin forms a outer covering known as a mesoptile plumage.  This layer allows the penguin to maintain its body heat while it is away from the nest, allowing both parents to forage at sea.  When the parents are away at sea, the young penguins of the colony form little huddles known as crèches for extra warmth.  Within eleven weeks, the young penguin will develop a waterproof plumage and fledge, but still lack the crests that Macaroni Penguins are known for.  The parent penguins will continue to feed the baby penguin every one to two days until the young penguin is ready to go out on their own.     

South_America photograph by Mike Bingham

             Macaroni Breeding Sites in S America