Rockhopper Penguin Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

You've probably seen a picture of a typical penguin, but this is no ordinary penguin! Learn about the rockhopper penguin's rock star looks and strange way of moving from one place to another.

How Rockhopper Penguins Got Their Name

Do you think all penguins waddle? Not the rockhopper penguin. As their name suggests, they hop across rocks when they go somewhere on land. But that's not the only thing that makes these penguins unique. They also have cool feathers!

A rockhopper penguin at home on the rocks
rockhopper penguin

What Do They Look Like?

Rockhopper penguins are the rock stars of the ocean thanks to the distinct tufts of bright yellow feathers that flash above their red eyes like big, fancy eyebrows. Their beaks are a bold orange color, and their feet are pink, which adds to their cool look.

A rockhopper penguin showing off his cool feathers
rockhopper penguin

The rest of the penguin's feathers make them look like they are wearing a tuxedo because their backs are covered with black feathers, and their bellies are white.

Rockhopper penguins are somewhat small penguins. They reach a height of about 16 to 21 inches and weigh about four to six pounds, which is bit more than a two-liter bottle of soda weighs.

Where Do They Live and What Do They Eat?

Most penguins live in very cold climates, and the rockhopper penguins are no different. They spend a lot of time in the ocean waters of Antarctica, and then move onto the shores of the sub-Antarctic islands when it's time to have their young.

Their meals come from the ocean and include seafood choices, such as fish, squid, and krill, which are small shrimplike creatures.

What Is Their Life Cycle Like?

When it's time to breed, large groups of rockhopper penguins come ashore to form colonies. A colony is a noisy place, with hundreds or even thousands of penguins making loud, aggressive calls to attract a mate.

A rockhopper penguin colony
rockhopper penguins

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