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the web of life in southern Africa

Eudyptes chrysolophus (Macaroni penguin) 

Langkuifpikkewyn, Macaronipikkewyn [Afrikaans]; Macaronipinguďn [Dutch]; Gorfou doré [French]; Goldschopfpinguin [German]; Pinguim-de-tufos-dourados [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes > Family: Spheniscidae

Eudyptes chrysolophus (Macaroni penguin) Eudyptes chrysolophus (Macaroni penguin) 

Macaroni penguins, Cooper Bay, South Georgia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Moulting immature Macaroni penguin, Brandfontein, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Distribution and habitat

Breeds on sub-Antarctic islands, as well as islands off Chile and the Antarctic Peninsula, dispersing in the non-breeding season to the sea, although the range of its movements are unknown. It is a rare vagrant to southern Africa, with roughly 8 records of moulting individuals along the shoreline of the Western Cape and one in KwaZulu-Natal, with only a single bird recorded at see off the coast of Cape Town.


It mainly eats crustacean zooplankton, supplemented with squid and fish, especially lanternfish (Krefftichthys andersonni). It mainly forages between 10-80 metres beneath sea level, rarely up to 150m, moving at roughly 7-8 km/h.


Breeds in tightly-packed colonies, which over time erode ground down to bedrock with trampling.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.