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A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Eudyptes Antipodum. — (Yellow-Crowned Penguin.)

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Eudyptes Antipodum.
(Yellow-Crowned Penguin.)

  • Catarrhactes antipodes, Hombr. & Jacq. Ann. Sci. Nat. xvi. p. 520 (1841).

  • Eudyptes antipodes, Gray, in Dieff. Trav. ii., App. p. 199 (1843).

  • Aptenodytes flavilarvata, Peale, U.S. Expl. Exp. p. 260 (1848).

  • Pygoscelis antipodes, Hombr. & Jacq. Voy. Pôle Sud, Zool. iii. p. 156, pl. 33. fig. 2 (1853).

  • Pygoscelis antipoda, Bonap. C. R. xlii. p. 775 (1856).

  • Eudyptes antipoda, Cass. U.S. Expl. Exp. p. 351 (1858).

  • Spheniscus antipoda, Schleg. Mus. Pays-Bas, Urinatores, p. 9 (1866).

Ad. suprà obscurè cyanescens, nigro minutè varius: alâ saturatiore, margine carpali angustè, margine apicali latiùla flavicante: subtùs argentescenti-albus, pectoris lateribus dorso concoloribus: pilei plumis rigidis, pilosis, pallidè sulphureis, nigro medialiter lineatis: supercilio lato nucham cingente pallidè sulphureo: genis anticis pallidè sulphureis nigro lineatis: facie reliquâ et collo superiore laterali gulâque brunneis, hâc multò pallidiore: rostro obscurè brunnescenti-aurantiaco: pedibus saturatè brunneis.

Adult male. Top and sides of the head, cheeks, and towards the base of lower mandible pale sulphur-yellow, the feathers of the forehead and crown lengthened, and having a shaft-streak of glossy black; general upper surface of the body, as well as the sides of the breast and thighs, dull blue, with a streak of black down the centre of each feather; upper surface of flippers bluish black, the outer edges yellowish white; region of the ears, throat, and upper sides of neck pale fulvous brown; fore neck, breast, and the rest of the under-parts yellowish white; tail-feathers bluish black. Bill dull brownish orange; legs and feet dark brown. Total length 32 inches; length of flipper 7·5; tail 3; bill, along the ridge 2·5, along the edge of lower mandible 3; tarsus 1·5; middle toe and claw 3·5.

Obs. A specimen of the male bird in my collection from Campbell Island, and now figured, has the black shaft-lines on the vertex broader, the dark colour predominating, with an outer and well-defined band of pale yellow, which is continued, although in a narrower form, through the eyes to the angles of the mouth, forming a sort of coronal hood, the feathers composing which are glossy and of a silky texture. The yellow on the lower sides of the cheek is marked with minute black shaft-lines; and the fulvous brown of the throat and sides of the upper fore neck has a darker edge separating it from the white, the latter forming a rounded apex in front about three inches below the angle of the lower mandible. The underparts are white, with a very decided gloss.

Another adult male from Campbell Island, which I had an opportunity of examining in the Otago Museum, has a beautiful head, the coronal region being pale lemon-yellow, pencilled on the vertex and crown with black; cheeks washed with yellow; chin and sides of the neck pale brown, shading into the light blue which covers the nape and lower sides of the neck; hind neck, back, and general upper surface bright blue with thick black shaft-lines; inner margin of flippers and the whole of the under surface satiny white. The white of the fore neck extends upwards to within an inch and a half of the bill, where it meets the pale brown colour and forms a rounded outline. Irides said to have been bright yellow.

Adult female. As large as the male, but with the entire plumage less conspicuous. The vertex and crown are only slightly washed with yellow, the dark shaft-lines being less pronounced on that account, but extending further back and covering the whole crown, there being no indication of the coronal circlet described above. The plumage of the upper parts is chiefly a dingy brown with a faint wash of blue on the outer edges of the feathers, this colour being of a much lighter tint than in the other sex. Upper surface of flippers dull bluish page break


page break page 295 brown. There is no appearance of yellow on the cheeks, but both here and on the throat the fulvous brown fades away into the white, the rounded apical margin presented by the male being wholly obliterated. On the cheeks each feather has an extremely minute central mark of brown, giving a somewhat “stippled” appearance to the plumage of these parts. Underparts glossy white.

Obs. The bird from which the above description is taken has the claws much blunted and worn, indicating maturity,* and the tail-feathers abraded to mere shafts, like strips of elastic whalebone (the middle ones to the length of three inches), denoting, as I think, an adult female at the close of the breeding-season. In both sexes the bill appears to have been originally of a dull brownish orange, darker on the ridge and in the terminal part of the lower mandible.

Young. The white of the fore neck extends right up to the bill and spreads on to the face; there is a broad mark of brown behind the eyes and on the sides of the upper neck; the coronal band is absent, but there is a tinge of yellow on the vertex, with some indistinct pencilled markings of brown.

The above description of the adult male, which appeared in my first edition, was taken from a fine specimen in the British Museum. At that period there was only a single example known in the Colony—an immature specimen obtained at Oamaru on the east coast of the South Island. Numerous individuals have since been taken, but in every instance further south. The description of the female is from one obtained at Cape Campbell and presented to me by Mr. Robson, who also forwarded a pair to the Colonial Museum. There is an example from Akaroa in the Canterbury Museum; and the young bird described above was captured near Dunedin in December 1873, and is now preserved in the Otago Museum.

The egg is broadly ovoido-conical, measuring 2·85 inches in length by 1·15 in breadth, creamy-white and having a roughish surface with a thin chalky covering. I have two before me, and in one the outline is slightly pyriform; in other respects they are alike. Both specimens were collected on Campbell Island.

Mr. Percy Seymour, who is a very zealous oologist, has favoured me with the following notes:—

“At Otago Peninsula, on the 9th November, I found a nest of this species containing two eggs, on which the female bird was sitting. The eggs were white, and uniform in shape and size, measuring 2·95 inches by 2·15. The nest consisted of a mere platform of sticks, about 18 inches in diameter, and was situated at the foot of a leaning tree in thick bush, on a steep ascent from a sandy beach. The birds in their journeys to and from the beach had made a beaten track up the hill, on which the marks of their claws were plainly perceptible in the soft clay. Two other nests, found on the same occasion, also contained two eggs each, resembling in appearance and size those described above, but I did not get an opportunity to measure them. The nests were constructed principally of coarse grass, on a ledge at the foot of a small cliff near the water.

“Another nest had been found on the 26th of October in the same locality under a log. It contained two fresh eggs, measuring 2·75 inches by 2·1.

“I visited the beach again on the 9th of August in the year following, and found, near an old nest, two young birds, both males. They were fully feathered, but still had a little down about their plumage. There were plenty of footprints of the birds on the track leading up the hill, but all the tracks on the sandy beach below high-water mark pointed seawards, showing that the birds, at that time of the year, came ashore only at night and left again in the morning.”