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9 Penguins With Yellow Hair

Rockhopper penguin.

Are you familiar with penguins that have yellow hair? Yes, you read that right! Some penguin species have yellow feathers that resemble hair.

What causes this unusual colouring? Well, the answer lies in the pigments that these penguins produce.

The yellow hair-like feathers on these penguins are produced by a pigment called carotenoids. This pigment is also responsible for other bird species’ orange and red hues. Interestingly, penguins have their own unique pigment called sphenic, which can also produce yellow colouring.

Some scientists believe that carotenoids are responsible for the yellow hair-like feathers in penguins. These pigments are obtained from the penguins’ krill, shrimp, and other small crustacean’s diet.

Royal Penguin

Royal penguin with yellow hair.

This mid-sized penguin is one of the crested penguins, named for the bright yellow plumes on their heads. The species’ name commemorates the German zoologist Hermann Schlegel.

Royal penguins are found in the sub-Antarctic region, with breeding colonies on Macquarie Island, Bishop and Clerk Islands, and Australia. These penguins are known for their striking appearance, with a black head, a pale-coloured face, and a long crest of yellow-orange feathers that originates on the forehead and runs along the sides and top of the head.

Macaroni Penguin

Macaroni penguins with yellow hair.

These penguins are known for their distinctive yellow crest on their heads, which is made up of hair-like feathers. The crest is particularly impressive, reaching from the centre of the bird’s forehead to the back of its neck.

The Macaroni Penguin is a large, crested penguin, similar in appearance to other members of the Eudyptes genus. An adult bird has an average length of around 70 cm (28 in) and weighs between 4 and 6 kg (8.8 to 13.2 lbs). They have black and white feathers on their backs and wings, while their bellies are white.

These penguins are found in the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic regions, with the largest population on the island of South Georgia. They are social birds and live in large colonies, with some colonies numbering in the millions.

Macaroni Penguins are known for their distinctive vocalizations, which are used for communication between individuals in the colony. They also use their vocalizations to help locate their mate and their chick in the crowded colony.

Rockhopper Penguin

Rockhopper penguin with yellow hair.

If you’re looking for a penguin species with yellow hair, then the Rockhopper penguin is a great place to start. These adorable birds are known for their distinctive yellow and black “hair” on the top of their head, which is similar to that of the Macaroni penguin.

Rockhopper penguins are characterized by their red eyes and a relatively thin stripe of upright yellow feathers that extends from the bill to the back of the head above each eye, known as the superciliary stripe. They also have a crest of black feathers that stands upright on the top of their head.

There are two species of Rockhopper penguins: the Southern Rockhopper penguin and the Northern Rockhopper penguin. Both species are found in the southern hemisphere, with the Southern Rockhopper penguin being the more common of the two.

Rockhopper penguins are known for their energetic and sometimes comical behaviour. They are excellent swimmers and divers and can often be seen leaping out of the water onto rocky shores. They are also very social birds and can form large colonies with other penguins.

Emperor Penguin

Emperor penguin with yellow hair.

Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are one of the largest penguin species and are well-known for their striking yellow feathers around their necks. These penguins are native to Antarctica and are the only penguin species that breed during the harsh winter months.

Emperor penguins have a unique adaptation to survive in the harsh Antarctic climate. They have a thick layer of blubber that insulates them from the cold and helps them to maintain their body temperature. In addition, they huddle together in large groups to conserve body heat.

The yellow feathers around their necks are not actually hair but rather feathers that have evolved to help the penguins regulate their body temperature. The feathers are denser than the surrounding feathers, which helps to trap heat close to the penguin’s body.

Emperor penguins are also known for their impressive diving abilities. They can dive to depths of up to 1,800 feet and can hold their breath for up to 22 minutes. During their dives, they feed on fish, squid, and krill.

King Penguin

King penguin with yellow hair.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a King Penguin, you’re in for a treat. These regal birds are the second-largest penguin species, with adults standing about three feet tall and weighing up to 35 pounds. Their striking black and white plumage is accented by bright orange-yellow patches around their ears and on their necks.

While most King Penguins have the classic black-and-white colouring, there have been rare sightings of individuals with yellow-and-white feathers. In fact, in 2019, a completely yellow King Penguin was spotted in Antarctica by photographer Yves Adams. This sighting was so rare that it made headlines around the world.

King Penguins are found on sub-Antarctic islands, with the largest populations on South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands. They are known for their impressive swimming abilities and can dive to depths of over 300 feet to catch fish and squid. They also form large breeding colonies, with pairs typically laying one egg per year.

Yellow Eyed Penguin

Yellow eyed penguin with yellow hair.

The Yellow-eyed penguin, also known as the Hoiho, is one of the rarest penguins in the world. It is a medium-sized penguin that is found only in New Zealand. The yellow-eyed penguin is most easily identified by the band of pale yellow feathers surrounding its eyes and encircling the back of its head. Its forehead, crown, and the sides of its face are slate grey flecked with golden yellow.

Yellow-eyed penguins are known for their distinctive yellow eyes, which are surrounded by a ring of bright yellow feathers. They are also known for their unique breeding habits. Unlike most penguins, which breed in large colonies, yellow-eyed penguins breed in pairs. They build their nests in secluded areas, such as under bushes or in rocky crevices.

Yellow-eyed penguins are also known for their distinctive calls. They have a loud, high-pitched call that sounds like a braying donkey. This call is used to communicate with their mates and to establish territory.

Snares Penguin

Snares penguin with yellow hair.

If you’re looking for a penguin with yellow hair, the Snares Penguin might be just what you’re looking for! These medium-sized crested penguins are endemic to New Zealand and have a distinctive thin, vivid yellow eyebrow that droops behind the eye to form a bushy tufted crest.

Adult Snares Penguins have dark blue-black upper parts and white underparts, with prominent pale pink skin at the base of their chunky red bills. They can grow up to 70 cm (27.5 in) in length and weigh between 2.5-4 kg (5.5-8.8 lb).

The Snares Penguin is a unique species of crested penguin that is characterized by plumes of yellow feathers that run above each eye (the superciliary stripe) and extend from the base of the bird’s cone-shaped bill to the back of the head. They breed in colonies exclusively on the Snare Islands, a group of islands off the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

During the breeding season, Snares Penguins can be seen performing a range of courtship displays, including bowing, calling, and preening. They lay two eggs per clutch, and both parents take turns incubating the eggs for around 35 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed by their parents for around 75 days before they fledge and head out to sea.

Fiordland Penguin

Fiordland crested penguins with yellow hair.

This species of penguin is medium-sized, with a distinctive yellow crest on its head, making it easy to spot in a crowd of penguins.

The Fiordland Penguin can grow up to 60 cm (24 in) long and weighs on average 3.7 kg (8.2 lb). This species is part of the crested penguin family, which includes other penguins with yellow hair, such as the Royal Penguin.

Fiordland Penguins are found in New Zealand, mainly in the Fiordland region of the South Island. They prefer to nest in dense forests, where they can hide from predators and stay cool during the summer months.
These penguins are carnivorous and feed mainly on fish, squid, and krill. They are also known to eat small crustaceans and other marine invertebrates.

Erect Crested Penguin

C00ch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Erect Crested Penguin, also known as the Sclater’s penguin, is found in the southern parts of New Zealand and the surrounding islands.

The Erect Crested Penguin is a medium-sized penguin, measuring between 50-70 cm (20-28 in) and weighing between 2.5-6 kg (5.5-13.2 lb). The male is slightly larger than the female, and both sexes have a distinctive yellow crest that stands erect above each eye.

The plumes of yellow feathers extend from the bill to the back of the head, running above each eye, and often stand fully upright at the top of the head.