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Yellow-eyed Penguin

A very special bird which can be found in The Catlins

The Yellow-eyed penguin

Breeding populations of Yellow-eyed penguins are found along The Catlins coast where headlands provide best access to their off-shore feeding grounds and where forest or shrubland provide nesting habitat. They nest amongst the roots of forest trees or flax within calling range, but not in sight of, the next pair of birds.

The average lifespan of a Yellow-eyed penguin is 8.5 years, but some birds have lived up to 25 years.

Yellow-eyed penguins swim as far as 50 kilometres off-shore and dive up to 120 metres for their food which they find mainly near the seabed.

Penguins are prey to predators such as stoats, cats and dogs and at some locations in The Catlins efforts are made to protect them from these threats.

They are also under threat from changing conditions at sea affecting their food supply and increasing the incidence of disease and in recent years their population has shown a sharp decline, there are now only a few hundred of this rare penguin living on The Catlins coast.

Yellow-eyed penguins can be seen at Nugget Point Totāra Scenic Reserve (Roaring Bay) and Curio Bay -  please use the hide for viewing and stay off the beach. There are several wildlife guides in The Catlins who are DOC concessionaires and who can take visitors to see them.

More information about the Yellow- eyed penguin can be found on the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust website