Yellow-eyed Penguins – Enderby Island, New Zealand 2018

We had sailed from Bluff on the south coast of New Zealand’s South Island heading towards the Sub Antarctic Islands.

Enderby Island is one of the northerly islands of the Auckland Islands. This archipelago was formed from two volcanoes and the remains of the calderas are clear to see. Enderby Island resulted from the northerly flow of larva from the eruption. We landed at Sandy Bay and spent a very pleasant day exploring the area. On the beach was a breeding colony of New Zealand (or Hooker) Sea Lions and in the undergrowth, behind the beach, Yellow-eyed Penguins had made their nests.

Keeping a respectful distance since Yellow-eyed Penguins are easily disturbed, we watched as they moved to and fro from their nesting sites in the forest to the sea and back. They paid little attention to both the New Zealand Sea Lions and the Subantarctic Skuas.

Yellow-eyed Penguins are the rarest of all penguins and found only on New Zealand’s Southern Island, Auckland and Cambpell Islands. In total, there about 2000 breeding pairs. These secretive birds are mostly monogamous and nest solitary in dense undergrowth. Both sexes incubate the two eggs and feed the chicks.