Visitor a rare sight

Last updated 12:15 20/02/2013
Gary Melville
Spotted- This Fiordland crested penguin is a long way from home having come ashore in Kaikoura to moult

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A juvenile Fiordland crested penguin was identified during a recent penguin survey conducted by Penguin Education and Awareness Programme (PEAP) around the Kaikoura peninsula.

This endemic and vulnerable species has been seen here in Kaikoura on a few other occasions and usually during the moulting period.

Other occasional visitors to Kaikoura are Snares Crested, Yellow-eyed and even a Chin-strap penguin from Antarctica.

Last year an erect-crested penguin was seen in Kaikoura during moulting season.

Most penguin species go through one complete moult each year, usually after the breeding season. During moulting, new feathers push out and replace old ones, giving the moulting penguin a scruffy appearance.

Around New Zealand penguins can be observed coming ashore to moult in February and March, and the moulting process can take from two to four weeks. During this time their feathers are not waterproof so they need to remain on land and fast for the moulting period.


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- © Fairfax NZ News


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