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  • Writer's pictureSusan Mann

Penguin Species Series #5 - The Macaroni Penguin

Guest Blogger - Charles Bergman

Macaroni Penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus

Coolest Fact: The macaroni penguin is the world’s most numerous penguin

Where It’s Found: Sub-Antarctic Islands, circumpolar

Crucial Facts:

• IUCN Status: Vulnerable

• Population: 6.3 million breeding pairs, but declining rapidly

• Mating: monogamous

• Nesting: small scrape on ground or in tussock grass

• Annual Cycle: 6 months per year lives entirely at sea

• Food: krill, squid, small fish

• Threats: introduced rodents on islands (which eat eggs), climate change

Our First Sighting: January 10, 2006 Half Moon Island, Antarctic Peninsula

The Story:

Why in the world is this penguin named for a pasta? It’s a great story. The macaroni penguin is a dapper little penguin with a flamboyant yellow-orange crest. About the time of the American revolution, a “dandy” was a very fashionable man who dressed with bold ornamentation, like feathers in his cap. They were also called “macaronis,” because they imitated Italian styles. The flashy orange feathers of these penguins made American whalers think of these macaronis, as in the song, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” You probably know the song. Now you know it’s meaning: “Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his cap, and called it macaroni”!

This new penguin series includes stories, information, and photos not yet published. Read about our quest to see all 18 of the world’s penguin species in my book “Every Penguin in the World.”

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