The macaroni penguin spends most of its time during the colder winter months fishing in the cold oceans where the macaroni penguin is more protected from the bitter conditions of the Antarctic winter on the land. However, when the summer is approaching and temperatures at the South Pole increase, the macaroni penguin makes it way to land in order to breed.
The macaroni penguin is the most numerous species of penguin on the planet as there approximately 18 million macaroni penguin individuals. The macaroni penguin population numbers are declined severely over the past few decades meaning that the macaroni penguin is today considered to be a vulnerable species.
Macaroni penguins are one the biggest and heaviest species of penguin as adult macaroni penguins generally average about 70cm in height. The macaroni penguin also has a couple of very distinctive features including a long red-coloured beak and a crest of thin bright-yellow feathers on its head.
Like other penguin species, the macaroni penguin is a carnivorous animal as the only source of food is in the surrounding water. The macaroni penguin spends six months during the cold winter months hunting fish, squid, krill and crustaceans which the macaroni penguin catches in its long beak.
The macaroni penguin only has a couple of natural predators in the freezing Antarctic Ocean as there are only a number of animal species that can survive there. Leopard seals, killer whales and the occasional passing shark are the only real predators of the macaroni penguin.
The macaroni penguin returns to the land during the warmer summer months in order to breed. Macaroni penguins gather in large colonies which can contain up to 100,000 individuals in order to lay their eggs. Female macaroni penguins generally lay two eggs a couple of days apart that hatch after about six weeks. Both the male and female macaroni penguin parents help to incubate the eggs and raise the chicks.