Family Penguins (Spheniscidae)


Southern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome)


French: Gorfou sauteur German: Südfelsenpinguin Spanish: Pingüino saltarrocas meridional
Other common names: Rockhopper Penguin (when lumped with Eudyptes moseleyi)

Aptenodytes chrysocome

J. R. Forster

, 1781,

Falkland Islands


E. crestatus is a synonym. Known to have hybridized with E. chrysolophus in Falkland Is, and several hybrids were paired (and apparently rearing young)#R. Usually treated as conspecific with E. moseleyi but recent molecular evidence#R supports split, along with clear morphological, ecological and behavioural differences including narrow vs broad superciliary stripe (2); fewer and shorter ornamental head plumes (3); less bold pattern of black and white on underside of flipper (1); reportedly different song (at least 1); reportedly different ecology relating to water temperature and foraging behaviour (1). Validity of race filholi sometimes questioned, but has distinctive fleshy-pink margins to bill; recent molecular analysis even proposes species status#R#R, but more evidence required. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. c. chrysocome (J. R. Forster, 1781) – Western Rockhopper Penguin – Cape Horn and Falkland Is.
  • E. c. filholi F. W. Hutton, 1879 – Eastern Rockhopper Penguin – Southern Ocean from Prince Edward Is E to Antipodes Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    51–62 cm; 2–3·8 kg (nominate). Rather small yellow-crested penguin with narrow anterior brow, robust bill often more or less hooked. Nominate race has head... read more


    Very noisy at colony. In display utters rhythmically repeated loud grating barks mixed with yelled... read more


    Marine and apparently pelagic. Seems to have wider temperature tolerance than all other members of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly euphausiids (especially Euphausia vallentini and Euphausia lucens) and amphipods, including the hyperiid T... read more


    Season variable. At Macquarie I (filholi) and Falkland Is (nominate) arrival in Oct–Nov, laying from Nov/Dec. Colonial,... read more


    Pre-moult period at sea 20–35 days; birds remain at sea for c. 6 months from Apr/May to Sept/... read more

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. Nominate race totals an estimated c. 773,000 breeding pairs: 210,418 pairs (distributed in 55 colonies) in Falklands in 2005; in extreme S Chile on islands of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Martínez, I., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Southern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome). 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).