Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Yellow-eyed Penguins

The yellow-eyed penguin is also known as hoiho. They are native to New Zealand. The hoiho is the rarest penguin in the world.

Facts about hoiho from the Green Blog:

Hoiho is the Maori name for the yellow-eyed penguin. (Sometimes the Maori name 'Tauora' is used, too.) The Maori called this tall handsome penguin hoiho, which means 'noisy shouter', because its piercing call can be heard over the roar of the waves.

Hoiho is the only penguin with yellow eyes and a yellow band of feathers around its head, so it is called the `Yellow-eyed penguin'.

The scientific name for the hoiho is Megadyptes antipodes, which means 'large southern diver'.

According to palaentological knowledge, the hoiho is possibly the most ancient species of penguin.

Most penguins nest in crowded, noisy colonies but not the hoiho. Hoiho pairs nest apart from other penguins, so they need a lot more space than other penguins. Hoiho nest in forest or scrub, sometimes up to 1km from the sea. They can only be found on the south-east coast of New Zealand's South Island and some sub-Antarctic islands.

Hoiho stay near home all year, except for wandering young birds.

Hoiho will swim up to 40 kilometres from the shore in search of food. They can dive up to 120 metres deep and can reach speeds of 25 kilometres an hour in the water.

Hoiho come ashore from fishing in the evening, when the sun is setting.

While other penguin species return to their nest sites only for the breeding season, hoiho return to their nest sites most nights.

The hoiho can live to be over 20 years old and will usually stay with the same partner for life.

Photo: New Zealand Birding Network

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