Animals & Attractions

We have a small breeding colony of northern rockhopper penguins here at Edinburgh Zoo - easily spotted amongst our gentoo and king penguins thanks to the bright yellow feathers above their eyes!

As they are an endangered species, we are especially proud of our breeding success in recent years - look out for this year's chicks who'll be hanging out with the adults, but yet to grow their statement 'eyebrows'.

Did you know it costs £130 a day to feed our penguin colony? You can help feed our northern rockhopper penguins and protect other endangered animals around the world by donating today - if you can, please support our Survival Fund.


  • Our rockhoppers are the smallest species of penguin at Edinburgh Zoo, but what they lack in size they make up for in attitude!

  • Both males and females incubate their eggs in shifts - while one is on the nest, the other will be out at sea gathering food

  • Rockhopper penguins will often lay two eggs, with the second being considerably larger

  • They go through their annual moult in August and September so if you visit then you will see them looking particularly scruffy!


Northern rockhopper populations in their native Tristan da Cunha are thought to have declined from hundreds of thousands in the 1870s, to just 5,000 pairs by 1955. Around two million pairs (or 98%) of penguins were lost from Gough Island between 1955 and 2006.

We have helped to protect northern rockhoppers on Tristan da Cunha for many years as part of Project Pinnamin, working on annual population surveys, genetic analysis and supporting the creation of the first global bilingual action plan for the species in 2017.

Our penguins are also part of the European Stud Book programme.

Find out more about rockhopper conservation.

Support RZSS - Adopt a panda

Get free visits and much more!

Become an RZSS member and receive a whole host of benefits while helping to care for animals around the world.

Can you support our Survival Fund?

Every month, we need thousands of pounds just to feed and care for the animals you love. If you can, please help your zoo survive long into the future by giving a donation today.

Get our latest offers, animal stories & event news straight to your inbox!