“The Fiordland penguin or Tawaki is one of four penguin species unique to New Zealand and the only crested penguin to live and breed on the New Zealand mainland. Its distinctive, thick and pale-yellow crest, its robust orange bill and the white feather stripes on its cheeks distinguish Tawaki from the other penguin species that occur on the mainland. It is also one of the least known and studied species of penguins world-wide….”
Fact sheet always kept up to date to include latest facts determined by the project!
“In 2015, the Tawaki Project included Harrison Cove in Milford Sound as a second study site besides its established West Coast site at Jackson Head. The second year of research coincided with a very strong El Niño which affected penguins from both sites differently. In its third year, the Tawaki Project finally expanded its research activities to cover the species’ full breeding extent operating at four sites: Jackson Head, Gorge River, Milford Sound and Codfish Island / Whenua Hou…”
“After a successful pilot study conducted in 2014, the Tawaki Project moved into its first fully focused season of foraging research on Fiordland penguins/tawaki in September 2015. The pilot study had shown that research involving deployment of data loggers on a penguin species that is considered extremely sensitive to human presence was indeed feasible. While the penguins proved to be a cautious species, they were considerably more tolerant to research interactions than previously thought…”
“The year 2014 saw the realisation of a project that had a considerable gestation time. The need for more research on the enigmatic Fiordland penguins/tawaki was highlighted in Graeme Taylor’s ‘Action Plan for Seabird Conservation in New Zealand‘ in the year 2000. Investigations of the species’ marine ecology – their foraging ranges, diving behaviour and diet composition – all ranged high in the priority list of required research. ..”
“The enigmatic Fiordland crested penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) or tawaki is one of the rarest penguins worldwide. It is also one of the penguin species we know the least about. Only a handful of studies have been conducted so far, the majority of which focussed on aspects of the penguins’ terrestrial biology such as breeding behaviour and population counts. The IUCN red list ranks tawaki as ‘vulnerable’ due to its low population size (~5,000 mature birds) and apparent decline. In New Zealand, tawaki are ranked ‘nationally vulnerable’ with an estimated rate of decline between 10-50% over the course of just 10 years…”
Standard quality: TawakiProject-ResearchPlan-year1-2014.pdf (1.1 mb)