Distinguished by their pink webbed feet, red-orange beak, blood red eyes, bright yellow crests, and the irreverent black and yellow “crown”.
They were named for their distinctive hopping movements over the rocky hills and cliffs where they live and breed. Due to the harsh rocky environment, they cannot slide on their bellies like most penguins, so they hop to get from one place to another. These gregarious marine birds are among the world’s smallest penguins, standing about 20 inches tall.
View our video of them hopping on the rocks, click here:
Baby penguins are hatched with down, not feathers. Penguin chicks cannot swim until they grow their feathers. The time it takes for a penguin to grow feathers that waterproof typically takes 5 months. For that reason, mom and dad go to sea, gather food and feeds the chicks, krill (a type of shrimp) by regurgitating directly into their mouth. The last 4 pictures show this process.
The non technical side of Rockhoppers – they are just fun to watch. There were a few hundred chicks at the Falkland Island colony. We just sat and enjoyed watching mom/dad come up from the sea, and chicks so excited to see them, ok and eat, and realize what lucky “chickas” we are.