The yellow-eyed penguin is found off the coast of the south island of New Zealand where this species gathers in colonies along the beaches and boulder fields. The yellow-eyed penguin is also found on a few of the islands of the main island including Stewart, Auckland and the Campbell Islands.
The yellow-eyed penguin generally searches for food up 10 miles offshore, and travels (on average) around 15 miles away from the colonies nesting site. The yellow-eyed penguin leaves the colony at dawn and returns the same evening during chick rearing, although may spend 2â��3 days at sea at other times.
The yellow-eyed penguin is one of the larger species of penguin with adult individuals reaching 75cm in height, with the males generally being slightly larger than the female yellow-eyed penguins. The yellow-eyed penguin was thought to have been closely related to the tiny little penguin found in a similar area, although recent research suggests that the two are actually fairly genetically different.
The yellow-eyed penguin is a carnivorous animal, that like all other penguin species, survives on a diet that is only comprised of marine animals. Krill and small crustaceans make up the bulk of the yellow-eyed penguin's diet along with larger organisms including squid and various species of fish.
The yellow-eyed penguin is usually found nesting in the forests and scrub that line the New Zealand coast and although historically undisturbed, the yellow-eyed penguin now has a number of land-dwelling predators including cats, dogs and foxes along with rats and weasels that hunt their eggs.
On average, the yellow-eyed penguin breeds once a year, forming pairs that usually remain faithful to one another. The female yellow-eyed penguin lays two eggs in her nest in the forest which are incubated by both parents for up to a couple of months, when only one of the eggs will usually hatch. The yellow-eyed penguin chicks are fed and kept warm by their parents and remain with them until the chicks are nearly a year old.
Today, the yellow-eyed penguin listed as an endangered animal with an estimated wild population of less than 4,000 individuals. It is now the rarest penguin in the world due to deforestation and the introduction of mammalian predators.