Southern Rockhopper Penguin

"Nice hairstyle, Mr. Pingu!" by Borislav Mitkov (Digital)

Dad, dad, please paint a penguin! - how can I say no. It was their choice, because kids love penguins, and monkeys, and birds, and everything. They have hearts, we must learn from them.
— Borislav Mitkov

Rockhopper penguins are sometimes split into three species – Northern, Southern and Eastern.


The Southern Rockhopper penguin nests on cliffs and rocky gullies.  They are found throughout the sub-Antarctic and regions of the southern Indian and Pacific Oceans.

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Family Life

A gregarious species, the Southern Rockhopper penguin breeds in large colonies. These groups can sometimes contain over 100,000 nests. Breeding pairs are monogamous and stay together for life, returning to the same nest each year. Females usually lay two eggs per clutch in November. 


Penguins live about 10 years in the wild.

Hunting Habits/Diet

The Southern Rockhopper penguin is a carnivore and eats a variety of marine animals.


The Southern Rockhopper penguin group has a global population of roughly one million pair.

Why Are They Endangered?

Pollution and increasing disturbance at breeding colonies are thought to be major factors in driving declining Rockhopper populations. Climate change is also likely to threaten their survival, as well as human hunting.




Close up of Southern rockhopper penguin standing on a steep hill, Falkland Islands.