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A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Pygoscelis * Tæniatus. — (Rock-Hopper.)

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Pygoscelis * Tæniatus.

  • Le Manchot Papou, Sonn. Voy. N. Guin. p. 181, pl. cxv. (1776).

  • Aptenodytes papua, Forst. N. Comm. Götting, iii. p. 140, pl. 3 (1781).

  • Papuan Penguin, Lath. Gen. Syn. iii. pt. 2, p. 565 (1785).

  • Apterodita papuæ, Scop. Del. Faun. et Flor. Insubr. ii. p. 91. no. 71 (1786).

  • Chrysocoma papua, Steph. Gen. Zool. xiii. p. 59 (1825).

  • Pygoscelis papua, Gray, List Anseres B. M. p. 153 (1844).

  • Eudyptes papua, Gray, Gen. of Birds, iii. p. 641 (1849).

  • Aptenodytes tæniata, Peale, U. S. Expl. Exp. p. 264 (1848).

  • Pygoscelis wagleri, Sclater, Ibis, 1860, p. 390.

  • Spheniscus papua, Schl. Mus. P.-B. Urinatores, p. 5 (1867).

  • Pygosceles tæniata, Coues, Pr. Ac. Nat. Sci. Phil. 1872, p. 195.

  • Pygoscelis tæniatus, Scl. & Salv. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1878, p. 653.

Ad. suprà nigricans vix cinereo lavatus: alis magis cinereis, margine alari conspicuâ et remigum apicibus fasciam terminalem latam formantibus albis: supracaudalibus rigidis, nigricantibus cinereo lavatis: rectricibus nigris, marginaliter brunnescentibus: fasciâ latâ verticali albâ ab utroque oculo per verticem ductâ: facie laterali et gutture cinerascentibus, gutturis plumis albido variis: corpore reliquo subtùs sericeo-albo: alâ inferiore albâ, remigibus extimis apicaliter cinereis plagam conspicuam exhibentibus: pectore subalari et plagâ alterâ ad ortum alæ positâ cinereis: rostro lætè aurantiaco, culmine nigro: pedibus aurantiacis: iride lætè brunneâ.

Adult. Head and upper part of neck all round slaty black, excepting only a coronal band of white, extending from eye to eye, which is half an inch or more in width on the sides and narrows to a mere streak in the middle, with some scattered white feathers below it; entire upper surface dull blue-black, more or less intermixed with brown; on the sides of the body, flanks, and upper tail-coverts the blue tinge deepens; lower part of fore neck and entire under surface pure white; flippers dull bluish black, largely margined on the inner edge with white, their under surface being also white with a conspicuous patch of blackish grey at the humeral flexure; tail-feathers long, rigid, and dull bluish black with polished shafts. Bill reddish brown, changing to horn-colour at the tips; legs reddish brown with black claws. Total length 29 inches; length of flipper 8·5; tail 6·25; bill, along the ridge 2·25, along the edge of lower mandible 3·25; tarsus 1; middle toe and claw 3·25.

Young. Differs from the adult only in having the crown-mark narrower and washed with brown; the line of demarcation on the throat less defined, being mixed with grey; and the fore neck, as well as the wing-margin more or less marked with brown.

Obs. In none of the examples I have examined is the posterior edge of the coronal band regular or well-defined, but is broken, more or less, by small scattered spots which spread downwards towards the nape.

In the Otago Museum there are two specimens (adult and young) obtained from Macquarie Island, page 305 in December 1879, and this is my authority for including this Penguin among the birds of New Zealand.

Its cry is said to resemble the short bark of the fox.

Prof. Moseley states that in the stomachs of some he dissected at the Falkland Islands he found fish-bones, cuttlefish-beaks, and stones.

The Rev. Mr. Eaton gives the following interesting account of its breeding-habits on Kerguelen Island:—“It builds in communities, some of only a dozen, others from 70 to 150 families. A more populous colony upon the mainland was visited by six officers from the ships, who estimated the number of nests in it to amount to 2000 or more. These larger communities are approached from the sea by regular paths, conspicuous at a distance, like well-worn sheep-tracks, which lead straight up the hill from the water. Their formation is due to the Penguins being very particular about where they land and enter the sea. A small party of the birds occupied a position upon the neck of a low promontory within an hour’s walk of Observatory Bay. Their nests were nearest to the farther side of the isthmus; but when they were approached the male birds used to run to the water, not by the shortest route where it was deep close to the rocks, but by the longest to a place where the shore was shelving. It was amusing to see them start off in a troop as fast as their legs could carry them, holding out their wings and tumbling headlong over stones in their way, because as they ran they would keep looking back instead of before them, and to hear their outcries. Panic and consternation seemed to possess them all; but the females (possibly because they could not keep up with their mates) seldom went far from their nests, and, if the intruder stood still, soon returned and settled down again upon their eggs. Not many weeks had passed before a change was effected in their conduct. The young were hatched, and now the mothers anxiously endeavoured to persuade them to follow the example of their fathers and run away to sea. But the nestlings preferred to stay in their nests; they did not mind if the stranger did stroke them; although their anxious mothers ran at him with open mouths whenever he dared to do so. Only a few of the older chicks could be prevailed upon to stir, and they after waddling a few yards became satisfied with their performance and turned to go home again. The mothers, who had straggled to a greater distance, began to return too. It was now that the more tardy youngsters began to experience the ills of life. Every Penguin that had reached its place before them aimed blows at them as they passed by towards their own abodes. One of the little birds certainly did seem to deserve correction. It saw its neighbour’s nest empty and sat down in it. The old female Penguin, the rightful occupier, presently returned in company with her own chick, to whom, having put her head well into his mouth, she began to administer refreshment after his run. Seeing them so pleasantly engaged, the small vagrant, thoughtlessly presuming on her generosity, went nearer and presented himself to be fed also, as if he had a right to her attention and care. She looked at him while he stood gaping before her with drooping wings, unable for the moment to credit what she saw. But suddenly the truth flashed upon her, and provoked by his consummate audacity she gave vent to her indignation, pecked his tongue as hard as she could, chased him out of the nest, darting blows at his back, and croaked ominously after him as he fled precipitately beyond the range of her beak, leaving trophies of down upon the scene of his unfortunate adventure.”

The nests of this Penguin on Kerguelen Island were composed of dried leaf-stalks and seed-stems of Pringlea, together with such other suitable material as happened to be at hand, and they usually contained two eggs, one of them invariably larger than the other.

Mr. Howard Saunders found a solitary egg of this species in the collection brought by the ‘Transit of Venus Expedition,’ and he describes it as being of a pale blue colour, thickly coated with calcareous matter, and measuring 2·5 inches by 2 inches. In the Otago Museum there are two eggs of this Penguin from Macquarie Island. One is almost spherical, the other slightly ovoid; the former measures 2·4 inches in length by 2·25 in breadth, and the more ovoid one 2·4 in length by 2·15 in breadth; they are perfectly white, except where they are soiled by external contact.

* The genus Pygoscelis (established by Wagler in 1832) holds an intermediate position between Eudyptes and Aptenodytes, and although not among the genera defined in my Introduction (pp. lxi to lxxxiv), I have found it necessary to employ it.