Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Hoiho, the yellow-eyed Penguin
Hoiho are considered amongst the rarest penguins in the world. They are found only in the southern parts of the South Island of New Zealand. The main stronghold is the Otago Peninsula where a breeding habitat has been established and has full protection, including visitation rights by the public. They are not colony nesters like many penguins, preferring to be out of sight from other couples. These habitats consist of their favourite nesting sites - forest or scrub, amongst native flax, and with a good view of the sea. When the chick is small, the parents take turns, one child-minding, whilst the other goes out fishing. Hoiho’s diet is mainly fish and squids. They can dive up to 160m and stay down for around 3.5 minutes. After the chick is larger and stronger, both parents head out to sea to forage. Hoiho often form long term partnerships and can live for over 20 years.