Polar Biology

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 1907–1911 | Cite as

Plumage aberrations in Macaroni Penguins Eudyptes chrysolophus at sub-Antarctic Marion Island

  • Tegan Carpenter-Kling
  • Bruce M. Dyer
  • Azwainewi B. Makhado
  • Pierre A. Pistorius
Short Note


Plumage aberrations, such as leucism, isabellinism, albinism and melanism, are hereditary and are caused by irregularities in the formation of melanin. This paper presents opportunistic observations of plumage aberrations in 15 Macaroni Penguins Eudyptes chrysolophus at sub-Antarctic Marion Island during 2008–2016. Across five colonies, full and partial leucism, isabellinism and partial melanism were recorded. Plumage aberration in Macaroni Penguins is rarely reported elsewhere in the world. The relatively high number of recorded individuals at Marion Island, in conjunction with limited mixing between global Macaroni Penguin colonies, suggests that a relatively high proportion of the population is entrained with this genetic predisposition.


Eudyptes chrysolophus Macaroni Penguin Plumage aberrations Spheniscidae 



Research on the Prince Edward Archipelago is made possible through the logistic support of the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa and financial support of the South African National Antarctic Programme and National Research Foundation. We thank all fieldworkers that have contributed to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute for African Ornithology, Department of ZoologyNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  2. 2.Branch Oceans and CoastsDepartment of Environmental AffairsCape TownSouth Africa

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