Hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguins are endemic to New Zealand and comprise two populations with negligible movement between them. The northern population is on mainland NZ and Stewart Island and the southern population on the sub-Antarctic Auckland and Campbell Islands. Hoiho are forest or shrub land nesting birds, preferring to nest in a secluded site backed up to a tree, log, or bank and generally they do not nest within sight of each other. They lay two eggs in September, incubation takes approximately 43 days, and the chicks fledge in February when adults then begin their annual molt. Hoiho are the fourth largest of the world’s penguin standing at 65cm tall and weigh up to 6kg. Both sexes are alike although males have a slightly larger head and feet. Their distinguishing feature is the yellow eye and bright yellow head band. Their biggest threat on land are introduced mammalian predators, and diseases and starvation the biggest marine threats. Tthey are listedas globally endangered. Historically population numbers fluctuated considerably, but since 2008 there has been a significant decline, dropping so low that scientists now predict the species may be extinct on mainland NZ within the next 20 years. Huge conservation efforts are undertaken to help save this unique species, which are also a popular tourism icon in NZ.
For more information on yellow-eyed penguin natural history visit the Global Penguin Society at https://www.globalpenguinsociety.org/portfolio-species-6.html
For more information on yellow-eyed penguin conservation status visit the IUCN Red List page at https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22697800/182703046