Rockhopper Penguins; the Bouncy Birds
Rockhopper penguins do just what their name says. In the steep, rocky places where these birds live, hopping from rock to rock is the only way to get around.
They can grow about 46 cm tall-- almost as high as an adult’s knee. They are the smallest group, among the crested penguins. Crested penguins are a group of penguins with extra-long head feathers that look like fancy hairdos.
Rockhoppers live in large groups called colonies and are found on islands near Antarctica. They are carnivores that eat sea animals such as fishes, krill, and squid.
Penguins are noisy talkers. Their language is called “braying.” In a large colony of penguins the sound can be extremely loud!
The brays signal to the birds and their chicks where they are located within the colony of hundreds, maybe thousands of penguins.
Penguins are most at home in the water. They are great swimmers and like all penguins, they cannot fly. But when they swim, they look like they are flying underwater!
They flap their stiff, powerful wings, called flippers, which work like paddles of a boat. They help the penguins steer, along with their feet and tail. When traveling extremely fast they loop in and out of the water.
This is called porpoising. They can also hop for long distances up cliffs. In the safety of these high cliffs they build their nests and raise their chicks.
One interesting thing about penguins is that both the male and female guard the eggs and keep them warm. They take turns, each taking care of the eggs for 10 days at a time.
When the chick is hatched, the male cares for the chick while the female fishes and brings home food. Their parents aggressively protect them from hungry predators.