email a friend
printable version
Erect-crested Penguin Eudyptes sclateri
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

This species is classified as Endangered because its population is estimated to have declined very rapidly over the last three generations, and it is almost certainly still declining. Furthermore, it has a very small breeding range, which many now be restricted to just two locations.

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

60 cm. Medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin. Bluish-black to jet black upperparts. White underparts. Broad, bright yellow eyebrow-stripe extends over eye to form short, erect crest. Similar spp. Differs from all other crested penguin species in having an erect crest.

Distribution and population
Eudyptes sclateri breeds on the Bounty and Antipodes Islands (1 km2 and 20 km2 respectively), New Zealand. In 1978, the population on the Bounty Islands was estimated at 115,000 pairs, spread over nine tiny islands (Robertson and van Tets 1982). A survey in 1997-1998 estimated a total of 28,000 breeding pairs (Clark et al. 1998, J. Amey per A. M. Booth in litt. 1999). Census methods differed, making comparisons less useful (Taylor 2000); however, the 2011 survey shows a further 8% decline using the same methodology as in 1997-1998 (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). The population on the Antipodes in 1978 was believed to be of a similar size to the Bounty Islands in the same year. In 1995, ground surveys indicated c.49,000-57,000 pairs (Taylor 2000), representing a decline of c.50% in 20 years. The survey in 2011 shows a further decline, with c.41,000 pairs counted, representing a decline of 23% (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). The population on Campbell Island numbered 20-30 pairs in 1986-1987, but no breeding was seen. A few hundred birds bred there in the 1940s (Taylor 2000). Winter distribution at sea is largely unknown, the only records being from the Cook Strait and off the east coast of the South Island (Marchant and Higgins 1990).

Population justification
The total population is estimated at 130,000-140,000 mature individuals, based on estimates of 26,000 breeding pairs on the Bounty Islands in 2011 and 41,000 pairs on the Antipodes Islands in 2011 (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012). Based on the assumption that mature individuals account for around 2/3 of the total population, there are estimated to be c.195,000-210,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The Bounty Islands population declined 76% during 1978-1998, but census methods were variable. The Antipodes population declined by c.50% during 1978-1995, and there have been further decreases since (G. A. Taylor in litt. 1999, Taylor 2000, D. Houston in litt. 2008). Based on this information, a very rapid decline is estimated to have occurred over the last three generations. However, recent surveys indicate that the rate of decline may be slower than this (J. Hiscock in litt. 2012).

It nests in large, dense, conspicuous colonies, numbering thousands of pairs, on rocky terrain, often without substantial soil or vegetation, from the spray zone to 75 m elevation (Marchant and Higgins 1990, Heather and Robertson 1997). It feeds on krill and squid, and occasionally takes small fish (Heather and Robertson 1997).

The reason for the large population declines is thought to be associated with marine factors affecting survivorship (Ellis et al. 1998, Taylor 2000). There are no mammalian predators on the Bounty or Antipodes Islands, except for mice on the main Antipodes Island.

Conservation Actions Underway
Cattle and sheep were eradicated from Campbell Island by 1984 and 1992 respectively (Taylor 2000). Introduced brown rats Rattus norvegicus have been successfully removed from Campbell Island, although their effect on the colony was never studied (Taylor 2000). All islands are nature reserves and part of a World Heritage Site designated in 1998. Conservation Actions Proposed
Census a sample of Antipodes Island colonies every five years, and re-photograph photopoints from 1978 and 1995 expeditions. Census Proclamation Island (Bounty Islands) every five years. Compare aerial and ground surveys of the Bounty Islands to ascertain the viability of using the former method for monitoring colonies (Taylor 2000). Conduct detailed studies to determine foraging ranges, commercial fisheries competition, and oceanographic or climatic changes (Ellis et al. 1998).

Clark, G.; Booth, A. M.; Amey, J. 1998. The Totorore expedition to the Bounty Islands, New Zealand.

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.

Heather, B. D.; Robertson, H. A. 1997. The field guide to the birds of New Zealand. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Marchant, S.; Higgins, P. J. 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds, 1: ratites to ducks. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Robertson, C. J. R.; van Tets, G. F. 1982. The status of birds at the Bounty Islands. Notornis 29: 311-336.

Taylor, G. A. 2000. Action plan for seabird conservation in New Zealand. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Calvert, R., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Taylor, J.

Booth, A., Hiscock, J., Houston, D., Taylor, G.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Eudyptes sclateri. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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

ARKive species - Erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Spheniscidae (Penguins)
Species name author Buller, 1888
Population size 130000-140000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) -
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species