Northern Rockhopper Penguin Facts

Northern Rockhopper Penguin

Rockhopper Penguin face

Education and facts about Northern Rockhopper Penguins and their conservation status.  Click here for games and videos about these festive aquatic birds.


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Northern Rockhopper Penguin Facts

Fun Facts!

*Rockhoppers are the smallest of the crested penguins.

*Rockhoppers lay two eggs. The second egg is usually largest and the only survivor. The first laid egg is usually kicked out before hatching.

*They jump from rock to rock with both feet together rather than waddling like most penguins.

Rockhoppers have red eyes.


Eudyptes moseleyi


up to 10 years


Penguin size comparison


5 pounds


The northern rockhopper, or Moseley’s, penguin’s diet consists of mainly of krill, but it will also eat crustaceans, fish, octopus, and squid.


Moseley’s penguins do not have any land predators, but it does have many sea predators. When the penguin goes to sea, fur seals, leopard seals, killer whales, and blue sharks will hunt and kill the penguins. Also, birds such as giant petrels and skuas will attack chicks and eggs.


Moseley’s penguins have three layers of wind, cold, and rain protection. They have an inner layer of fat, a layer of down that can trap air, and a layer of water-resistant feathers. The northern rockhopper penguin is able to swim very fast because its body is shaped like a torpedo. They have a white belly with black feathers and an orange beak. Unique to rockhopper penguins, these birds have a very yellow crest on the top of their heads. They also have spiky black feathers on the top of their heads that look like a mohawk. 


The northern rockhopper penguin nest in huge penguin colonies that can consist of 10,000 nesting pairs or more. During the nesting season, each female will lay one egg to take care of, and both the male and the female will take turns incubating, or warming, the egg. Once the baby penguins hatch, they join a créche or group of baby penguins while their parents hunt for food. The baby penguins are allowed to leave the nest after around 66 days.


The major threats to the Moseley’s penguin species are overfishing in the area, climate change, and overhunting from the predators. The penguins will get caught in fishing nets or fishing hooks with no way to escape. Also, fur seals have begun to overhunt the penguins, making the population decline. The northern rockhopper penguin has seen a very steep decline in its population since 1970, seeing a loss of almost 55 percent of the Moseley’s penguin. 

How can you Help?

Learn all you can about the Northern Rockhopper Penguins  and spread the word to others.

Fight pollution and global warming.

Use care during tourism involving fragile habitats.


Photo Gallery:


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