YELLOW-EYED PENGUIN (Megadyptes Antipodes)

~Lauren Belshaw

    The yellow-eyed penguin is said to be one of the rarest penguins in the world. It can be found in New Zealand and is called Hoiho or "noise shouters" by the Maori of New Zealand. The yellow-eyed penguin is the fourth largest penguin and its most distinguishing feature is their yellow eyes and the bright yellow stripe that runs by the eye and around to the back of its neck. These penguins feed on a variety of fish, mostly opal fish, silverside, sprat, aruhu, and red cod. They also eat arrow squid. When the penguins feed, they tend to go near the bottom, and can go quite far off shore.

Distribution: These penguins are found in New Zealand, on the South Island's south-east coast, Stewart Island, Auckland Island, and Campbell Island.
Yellow-eyed distribution  |  Map: Dave Houston


Habitat Requirements: Most of these penguins live in forest and shrubland (some may be found by sea and artificial terrestrial land). Without vegetative cover, their natural habitat becomes too dangerous for nesting.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family- Spheniscidae
Common Names: Yellow-Eyed Penguin


Threats: The biggest threats to these penguins is habitat loss, invasive alien species, pollution, and natural disasters. Predators include stoats, ferrets, and weasels (mostly prey on eggs or baby penguins), however, domesticated cats and dogs cause the most damage to the adult penguins.

The population trend for the yellow-eyed penguin is decreasing and there are some conservation actions being taken such as policy-based actions, research actions, and habitat and site-based actions.


1.) Stetoff, Rebecca. 1998. Penguin. Benchmark Books, New York.
2.) Davis, Lloyd Spencer. 1994. Penguin: A season in the life of the Adelie Penguin. New York.
3.) Russ, R., Shirihai, H. 2000. The birds of the islands off New Zealand. New Zealand.
4.) Williams, T.D. 1995. The Penguins. Oxford University Press, New York.
5.) Heather, B.D. 1992. Notornis: Ornithological Society of New Zealand. Volume 39.
6.) Van Heezik, Yolanda. 1990. Patterns and variability of Growth in yellow-eyed penguin. The Condor.
7.) Croxall, J.P., Davis, L.S. 1999. Penguins: paradoxes and patterns. Marine Ornithology.
8.) Davis, L.S. 2001. A  superlative penguin. Natural History.
9.) Marchant, S., Higgins, P.J. 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand, and Antarctic Birds. Oxford University Press.
10.) Van Heezik, Yolanda. 1988. Growth and diet of yellow-eyed penguin. University of Otago, New Zealand.