Well, there is in fact a species of penguin called the macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus). They are one of the 7 penguin species in the crested penguin family. All seven species have characteristic yellow crest feathers on their heads. Southern rockhoppers (Eudyptes chrysocome) are members of the crested penguin family, which are often confused for macaronis at the Aquarium. One distinct difference between macaroni penguins and rockhoppers is how their crest feathers are “styled”. Rockhoppers have crest feathers that start over their eyes like eyebrows and then branch off the sides of their heads while the more golden or orange crests of a macaroni penguin start at a point above their beaks and flair out past the eyes. Macaroni penguins also have larger, blunter beaks; stand over 2 feet tall and can weigh up to 14 pounds.
|Southern rockhopper penguin|
Both rockhopper and macaroni penguins have very large distributions ranges in the sub-Antarctic region and overlap in many locations like the Falkland Islands and other sub-Antarctic Islands like Kerguelen Island, Prince Edward and Marion Island. They also share many distinct behaviors. Both types of penguins are surface nester, meaning they build nests on open surfaces by collecting rocks, twigs and whatever else they can find. They also lay dimorphic eggs which mean the two eggs a female will lay will be noticeably different sizes
|Ecstatic display by one of our rockhopper penguins|
To impress a mate both types of penguins will perform ecstatic displays consisting of a bow forward, extension the head and neck straight up followed by loud vocalizations and shaking their heads back and forth displaying their beautiful crest feathers.
Now the burning question: how did the macaroni penguins get such a silly name?
The line “He put a feather in his cap and called it macaroni” from the song Yankee Doodle also refers to that fancy fashion style.