John T. Willis

Friday, January 15, 2010

Macaroni Penguin

The Macaroni Penguin--Eudyptes chrysolophus--was described from the Falkland Islands in 1837 by the German naturalist Johann Friedrich von Brandt. English sailors apparently named this species for its conspicuous yellow crest. Maccaronism was a term for a particular style in the 18th century England marked by flamboyant or excessive ornamentation. A person who adopted this fashion was called a maccaroni or macaroni, as in the song "Yankee Doodle."

The Macaroni Penguin is the closest relative of the Royal Penguin--Eudyptes schlegli. The difference is that the Royal Penguin has a white face instead of the usually black face of the Macaroni Penguin. The adult Macaroni Penguin is about 28 inches long ranging from seven to 13 pounds in weight. Th head, chin, throat and upperparts are black and sharply demarcated against the white underparts. The black plumage has a bluish sheen when new and browning when old. The most striking feature is the yellow cresh that arises from a patch on the center of the forehead, and extends hotizontally backwards to the nape. The flippers are blue-black on the upper surface with a shite trailing edge, and mainly white underneath with a black tip and leading edge. The large bulbous bill is orange-brown. The iris is red and there is a patch of pinking bare skin from the base of the bill to the eye. The legs and feet are pink.

Like all penguins, the macaroni penguin is flightless, with a streamlined body and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine lifestyle. The diet consists of a variety of crustaceans, mainly krill, and small fish and cephalopods, the species consumes more marine life annually than any other species of seabird. These birds moult once a year, spending about 3 to 4 weeks ashore, before returning to the sea. Specialists count approximately 20 millions macaroni penguins on earth, living primarily in the Atlanta Ocean and Antarctica.

The Macaroni Penguin is another example of God's wonderful creatures. Every creation of God is important, even when we human beings do not fully understand or appreciate all of God's great works. I hope YOU appreciate the Macaroni Penguin and all of God's marvelous creatures.

Share YOUR experiences and thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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