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This species has been classified as Endangered owing to very rapid population decreases over the last three generations (30 years) throughout its range. Precise reasons for the declines are poorly known, but changes in sea temperature, competition and incidental capture in fisheries and introduced predators are all likely to be implicated.
Banks, J.; Van Buren, A.; Cherel, Y.; Whitfield, J. B. 2006. Genetic evidence for three species of Rockhopper Penguins Eudyptes chrysocome. Polar Biology 30(1): 61-67.
Eudyptes chrysocome (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into E. chrysocome and E. moseleyi following Jouventin et al. (2006) on the basis of clear morphological, vocal and genetic terms, and this treatment has been accepted here following a review by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group. However, although E. filholi has been proposed as a split from E. chrysocome by Banks et al. (2006), both the sample sizes and the degree of morphological difference are small and this view is not accepted here.
Identification. Approximately 55 cm in length; red eyes; white underparts and slate-gray upperparts; a straight, bright yellow eyebrow ending in long yellow plumes behind the eye; the top of the head has spiked black feathers. Similar species. Southern Rockhopper Penguin which differ in having a wider supercilium and longer plumes.
Ryan, P. G.; Cooper, J. 1991. Rockhopper Penguins and other marine life threatened by driftnet fisheries at Tristan da Cunha. Oryx 25: 76-79.
Cunningham, D. M.; Moors, P. J. 1994. The decline of Rockhopper Penguins Eudyptes chrysocome at Campbell Island, Southern Ocean and the influence of rising sea temperatures. Emu 94: 27-36.
Williams, T. D. 1995. The penguins Spheniscidae. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Guinard, E.; Weimerskirch, H.; Jouventin, P. 1998. Population changes and demography of the northern Rockhopper Penguin on Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands. Colonial Waterbirds 21: 222-228.
Ellis, S.; Croxall, J. P.; Cooper, J. 1998. Penguin conservation assessment and management plan: report from the workshop held 8-9 September 1996, Cape Town, South Africa. IUCN/SSC, Apple Valley, USA.
Cuthbert, R. and Sommer, S. E. 2004. Gough Island bird monitoring manual. RSPB Research Report.
Hilton, G. M., Thompson, D. R., Sagar, P. M., Cuthbert, R. J., Cherel, Y. and Bury, S. J. 2006. A stable isotopic investigation into the causes of decline in a sub-Antarctic predator, the rockhopper penguin Eudyptes chrysocome. Global Change Biology 12(4): 611-625.
Jouventin, P.; Cuthbert, R.J.; Ottvall, R. 2006. Genetic isolation and divergence in sexual traits: evidence for the Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi being a sibling species. Molecular Ecology 15(11): 3413-3423.
Richardson, M. E. 1984. Aspects of the ornithology of the Tristan da Cunha group and Gough Island, 1972-1974. Cormorant 12: 123-201.
BirdLife International. 2010. Rockhopper Penguins: a plan for research and conservation action to investigate and address population changes. Proceedings of an International Workshop, Edinburgh, 3-5 June 2008.
Cuthbert, R.; Cooper, J.; Burle, M.-H.; Glass, C. J.; Glass, J. P.; Glass, S.; Glass, T.; Hilton, G. M.; Sommer, E. S.; Wanless, R. M.; Ryan, P. G. 2009. Population trends and conservation status of the Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi at Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island. Bird Conservation International 19(1): 109-120.
Barlow, K. E., Boyd, I. L., Croxall, J. P., Reid, K., Staniland, I. J. and Brierley, A. S. 2002. Are penguins and seals in competition for Antarctic krill at South Georgia? Marine Biology 140: 205-213.
BirdLife International. 2012. First assessment of Endangered Northern Rockhopper Penguins since 2011 oil spill. Available at: http://www.birdlife.org/community/2012/02/first-assessment-of-endangered-northern-rockhopper-penguins-since-2011-oil-spill/.
Cuthbert, R. 2012. Northern Rockhopper Penguin. In: García Borboroglu, P. G. and Boersma, P. D. (eds), Biology and Conservation of the World’s penguins, UW Press, Seattle U.S.A. (in press).
Further web sources of information
BirdLife Community news post on the effects of the 2011 oil spill on the Northern Rockhopper Penguin - 6th Feb 2012
Text account compilers
Allinson, T, Benstead, P., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A.
Cuthbert, R., Hilton, G.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Eudyptes moseleyi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.
Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Endangered|
|Species name author||Mathews & Iredale, 1921|
|Population size||mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||5,010,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|