Family Penguins (Spheniscidae)

Near Threatened

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli)


French: Gorfou de Schlegel German: Haubenpinguin Spanish: Pingüino de Schlegel

Eudyptes schlegeli


, 1876,

Macquarie Island


Frequently considered a race of E. chrysolophus, with low genetic distance#R and plumage variation considered a polymorphism, so that identification of taxa “can be based only on breeding locality”#R, but separation provisionally retained here based on data#R which, involving a low sample size for schlegeli and a sample from just one population of chrysolophus (Bird Island, South Georgia, which may or may not be representative), indicate that, apart from its white or mid-grey lores, face, chin and throat (2), schlegeli differs by its much shorter tarsus-toe length (effect size based on figures for females –10.29, score 4) and longer bill length (effect size based on figures for females 3.4, score 2). Further evidence needed. Monotypic.


Macquarie I and adjacent islets.

Descriptive notes

73–76 cm; 3–8·1 kg. Very robust-billed penguin with yellow crest starting on forecrown, usually with pale face. Adult is black above except for conspicuous... read more


Noisy at colony. In display gives repeated loud harsh braying sounds and trumpeting, accompanied by... read more


Marine and apparently pelagic. Nests on beaches and on pebbly slopes covered with tussock grass, up... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly euphausiids (Euphausia vallentini, Thysanoessa gregaria) and amphipods (Primno macropa, Themisto... read more


Arrival at colony in Sept, egg-laying in Oct. Colonial, forming very large, dense colonies. Nest a shallow depression among stones or in... read more


Presumably dispersive. Pre-moult period at sea c. 35 days; birds remain at sea from early Apr to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species. Tiny global range covers only 130 km2. Total population estimated at 850,000 pairs in... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez, I., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 April 2020).