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A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Eudyptes Atratus. — (Black Penguin.)

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Eudyptes Atratus.
(Black Penguin.)

  • Eudyptes atrata, Hutton, Ibis, 1875, p. 114.

Ad. omninò nigricans: dorsi plumis cyanescente medialiter lineatis: subtùs pallidior, plumis eyanescenti-griseo medialiter obscurè lineatis: supercilio distincto a naribus ducto et pileum marginante, posticè conspicuè brunneo: rostro rufescenti-brunneo: pedibus nigris.

Adult. General plumage black, but a different shade of colour observable on the upper and lower surfaces, and this is produced in the following manner: on the upper parts each feather has a central stripe of dark blue, which deepens almost to black on the head; on the underparts each feather has the centre bluish grey; over the entire surface of the body the feathers are black save as to this narrow median stripe; an obscure patch of yellow commencing at the angle of the upper mandible passes over the eyes, and then widening develops into a crest immediately beyond, the occipital plumes being pale golden yellow and two inches in length; flippers black, with obscure bluish points on the feathers; tail entirely black; bill uniform reddish brown; legs and feet black; claws dark brown. Total length (approximate measurement) 27 inches; wing or flipper 6·5; tail 4·5; bill, along the ridge 2·5, along the edge of lower mandible to gape 3; expanse of foot 2; middle toe and claw 3.

This remarkable Penguin, so conspicuously different in its coloration from all other known members of the genus, was obtained from the Snares, a group of sea-girt rocks lying about sixty miles to the south-west of Stewart’s Island.

Apart from its black plumage it may be distinguished by its powerful bill, the peculiar form of its crests, and the long, stiff tail-feathers.

There is only one known example, and this belongs to the fine collection of birds in the Otago Museum. I have to thank Prof. Parker for allowing me to bring this unique specimen to England, in order to figure it in the present work.

The black coloration of its under surface separates this form from all the other known species, and its massive deep bill, its very small hind toe, and long tail afford other distinguishing characters. In size it somewhat exceeds the well-known Crested Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus).