Erect-crested penguins breed in large colonies on bare exposed rocks of the Bounty Islands and the tussock-clad beaches of the Antipode Islands.
Height: 65-70cm (25.5-27in), Weight: 3-5kg (6.5-11lb).
These penguins have a black head with a yellow crest that stems from the bill along each side of the head, this crest can be raised or lowered. They have a slim brown/orange bill. The chicks have brown/grey backs and white fronts.
Erect-crested penguins spend their winter at sea and come to land to breed. They live in the cold temperate sub-Antarctic regions and breed off New Zealand in the Antipodes, Campbell, Auckland and Bounty Islands.
These penguins feed on small fish and crustaceans and are preyed upon by brown skuas and fur seals.
Crests, calls and head movements are used for defence and courtship, fighting is often prevalent during breeding as nesting location is a highly valued resource and pairs return to the same nest site each year. Breeding adults will forage close to the sub-Antarctic breeding islands as the chicks require feeding regularly.
The males of this species return to the breeding ground in September and the females follow two weeks later. They build simple nests of mud, a few stones and vegetation if possible. Two eggs are laid but the first is often neglected. The second egg develops normally and hatches at 35 days. Both parents incubate, feed and defend the young. The chicks leave the nest in January or February and the adults leave the islands between mid April and May.
Erect-crested penguins are not listed on the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is thought the population is of over 200,000 breeding pairs.