Penguins are so well adapted so well to life in the ocean that they have given up flying entirely. Yellow-eyed penguins can dive up to a water depth of 160 meters. These beautiful birds are found on along the southeastern coast of the New Zealand‘s South Island and on sub-Antarctic islands. Pairs are monogamous and stay together for life. Unusually, yellow-eyed penguins nest in coastal forests and shrubland, sometimes more than a kilometre inland. They are also less sociable than other penguins. Their loud and piercing call has earned them the Maori name „noise shouter“. And they have a good reason to try and get themselves noticed. With just 2,528 to 3,480 breeding pairs left in the world, they are the rarest penguin species on earth. The species is plagued by a number of threats on land and at sea, which are causing populations to decline. Their habitat is destroyed as forest and scrubland is cleared for grazing and developments. They are also threatened through non-native predators such as dogs, cats, ferrets, stoats and pigs or by sheep and cattle trampling their nests. The decline of populations on offshore islands where these pressures are absent indicating that marine impacts also play an important role. In fact, according to BirdLife, globally, yellow-eyed penguins are one of the penguin species most affected by bycatch, as they become entangled and drown in fishing nets as they dive for food. Click to listen to the "Noise Shouter" in action!
At 35 cm tall and weighing in just over 1 kg, little blue penguins are the world’s smallest penguin species. They usually lay two eggs and their tiny datchlings weigh between 34 and 45.4 grams. Chicks reach adult weight within 4-5 weeks and are fully independent after 60 to 80 days. Juvenile mortality is high, but individuals can live for 20 to 25 years. The penguins live around the coastlines of New Zealand and Southern Australia in underground in burrows and readily make use of any man-made cavities, including artificial nest boxes. Little Blues, or korora in Maori, feed on surface schooling fish, squid and crustaceans usually within 25km of the coast and come ashore only after dark. Although there are about a million blue penguins left in the world, their numbers are in decline. Threats include entanglement in fishing gear, marine pollution and more recently, lack of food.