At the Detroit Zoo
The macaroni penguins can be seen at the Penguinarium – the first zoo facility built specifically for penguins – along with the rockhopper and king penguins. A unique circular pool lets the birds swim continuously, giving them the ability to swim fast enough to porpoise and “fly” through the water. The Detroit Zoo is one of the few zoos where penguins can display this natural behavior.
The scientific name for the macaroni penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus, describes the distinguishing features of this bird. Eudyptes means “good diver”, and chrysolophus means “with a golden crest”. The bird has distinct yellow and black plumes extending backward from its ears. These plumes reminded early English explorers of an 18th century man called a “macaroni” who wore flashy feathers in his hat, thus the name.
Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysolophus
Continent: Antarctica, South America
Habitat: Rocky slopes and flat land; spends majority of its time in the sea
Size: About 2 feet tall
Weight: Average of 11 pounds
Diet: Mostly krill, sometimes fish
Reproduction: Breeding season starts in October and November; female will lay two eggs, but often only one egg will be cared for.
Lifespan: 8-15 years
Conservation Status: Vulnerable