Possible Sphenicus sp. penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

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Michael Szabo
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Possible Sphenicus sp. penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Michael Szabo » Sat Jul 16, 2022 1:19 pm

Video footage of what looks to possibly be a Sphenicus sp. (African/Magellanic/Humboldt) penguin has just been posted to the New Zealand Birders Facebook group by Chris Hannah dated 11/7/22.

He said it looked too large for Little Penguin, a species he is familiar with.

Here is a link to the footage: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QyZpQl ... RbmL2RH798
Last edited by Michael Szabo on Sat Jul 16, 2022 2:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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FraserGurney
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Re: Possible Royal Penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby FraserGurney » Sat Jul 16, 2022 1:47 pm

It looks to have a bit of black on the face, framed by white. Hard to tell but my first thought was Magellanic or African. Thanks to the people who posted the video but if only they hadn't waited five days to report it!
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Possible Royal Penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Michael Szabo » Sat Jul 16, 2022 1:54 pm

Chris Hannah has commented on Facebook that he thinks the bird had a black bill.
Last edited by Michael Szabo on Sat Jul 16, 2022 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Possible African/Magellanic/Royal Penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Michael Szabo » Sat Jul 16, 2022 2:26 pm

There are 2 previous records of Magellanic Penguin in NZ from 1982 (Waimarama, Hawke's Bay) and 1990 (Otago Harbour).
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Byrd
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Re: Possible Sphenicus sp. penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Byrd » Sat Jul 16, 2022 9:59 pm

Is there some better video that you all are looking at? I can't see anything more telling in the posted video than a small black blob in the water.
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Oscar Thomas
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Re: Magellanic penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Oscar Thomas » Sat Jul 16, 2022 10:08 pm

These are the best captures I could make from the video. The footage and observer's description narrows down the ID to African or Magellanic Penguin, and from what I can make out, I reckon subadult Magellanic Penguin is the most likely option.

Interestingly the species hasn't made it on the Birds NZ checklist, as they concluded in both cases that the birds were held as pets:
"As with the earlier find of a Magellanic Penguin, this bird obviously had been held as a pet. It readily took food from the hand, greeted its handler with a variety of calls in the early morning, and took fish from a dish, or if fish was dropped on the ground picked it up and ate it."
https://www.birdsnz.org.nz/wp-content/u ... s_19_2.pdf
https://www.birdsnz.org.nz/wp-content/u ... 8_1_36.pdf

I've seen a few rehab penguins of a few different species now and must ask, is this behaviour really indicative of domestication? They often come across as pretty 'tame' in my experience but it is probably a question best answered by a rehabber. Good thing I have a Uni field trip to Penguin Place lined up soon!
penguins.jpg
penguins.jpg (155.85 KiB) Viewed 602 times
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Possible Sphenicus sp. penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Michael Szabo » Sat Jul 16, 2022 10:34 pm

Your screen grabs of the bird are very useful. If you look at them on screen at close range using the wrong end of one of one of the tubes of your binoculars the image appears even better. So, yes, I agree that the markings look like it could be a sub adult Sphenicus, but the bill looks longer than in the photo you've included of a sub adult Magellanic. Perhaps its a bit older?

Another option that Colin Miskelly has suggested - can we rule out a partially leucistic Little Penguin?
Last edited by Michael Szabo on Sun Jul 17, 2022 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Oscar Thomas
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Re: Possible Sphenicus sp. penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Oscar Thomas » Sat Jul 16, 2022 10:40 pm

Would a partially leucistic Little Penguin be much bigger than a regular Little Penguin? As the observer described it to be. It’s also clearly black and white so that would be quite the plumage defect.
Davidthomas
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Re: Possible Sphenicus sp. penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Davidthomas » Sun Jul 17, 2022 3:03 am

You can see pale faces in Little blue penguins but im not sure if youd expect that much pale above the eye. Hmm.
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Possible Sphenicus sp. penguin, Evans Bay, Wellington

Postby Michael Szabo » Sun Jul 17, 2022 9:15 am

Christopher JR Robertson has also made this comment: "The first Magellanic in NZ in HB, led to queries as to whether it had been vessel assisted. Recent vessel movements from overseas should be looked at for transiting ports near magellanic or humboldt colonies."
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