Rockhopper Penguins in the surf – Falkland Islands, 2016

We saw Rockhopper Penguins at several sites we visited in the Falkland Islands. This group were filmed on Saunders Island. It was remarkable watching them deal comfortably with the heavy surf. Whilst at times ungainly on land, however they have no trouble hopping up steep and craggy slopes reaching significant heights.

Rockhopper Penguins are the smallest of the crested Penguins. They are 45-55cm in height and weigh 2-3.8kgs. Rockhopper Penguins are circumpolar and its is believed there are 1.1m pairs although their numbers are falling in some places including the Falkland Islands where this film was shot. These highly gregarious birds feed on fish, krill, octopus and squid by pursuit diving. They are monogamous and form long-lasting pair bonds. Breeding occurs from October to May in colonies often associated with Black-browed Albatross and we saw this on the Falkland Islands. Interestingly, like most crested Penguins, they lay two eggs the first is smaller than the second and its chick never survives.