Features the Yellow-crested Penguin, now known as the Fiordland Crested Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) and the Blue Penguin, now known as the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor).
Buller said of the Little Penguin: "I once had a live one in my possession for a considerable time; and although very savage when first taken, severely punishing the captor’s hands with its beak, it soon became quite tame, and exhibited, for such a bird, a remarkable degree of intelligence. On land its mode of progression is very ungainly, and it frequently topples over when attempting to run. Its usual attitude is an upright one, but it sometimes crouches low, with its breast nearly touching the ground. The sea, however, is its natural abode; and on observing its movements there it is at once manifest that the flippers are intended to perform the office of fins, or paddles, for propelling the body through the water. On the surface it swims low and in a rather clumsy fashion; but the moment it dives under it trails its legs behind like a bird on the wing, and using its flippers in the manner indicated, glides forward with the same ease and freedom that the Sea-Gull cleaves the air above it. In clear deep water I have watched its graceful evolutions with considerable interest; and I have been astonished at the length of time the bird could remain under before rising to the surface to breathe."
Buller said of the Yellow-crested Penguin: "This fine Penguin is more or less distributed, in suitable localities, all around our coast-line. In the North Island it is a comparatively rare bird, but it becomes more numerous as we proceed south; and in the West Coast sounds large colonies of them are to be found breeding together among the rocks or in the caverns scooped out of the cliffs by the erosive action of the sea. Reischek found as many as twenty-four pairs associated together in Supper Cove, and nearly as many on Cooper’s Island. In the vicinity of these breeding-places the birds may often be seen swimming in companies, cleaving the water like a school of small porpoises. On the Snares, he saw thousands of them jumping over the rocks, and fishing in the sea to feed their young ones, which were nearly full-grown. Major Mair informs me that he saw a perfectly tame one, which had been captured by the natives half a mile up the Opotiki river, in 1868. It is not often that this Penguin wanders so far up the coast, although I have a record of one taken at the mouth of the Waiotahi, five miles further north."
Walter Buller KCMG (1838 - 1906) was a New Zealand lawyer and naturalist. His work, "A History of the Birds of New Zealand", was first published in 1873 and as an extended version in 1888. It is regarded as a classic of ornithology and New Zealand wildlife and describes several now extinct birds.
The artist who illustrated the birds was John Gerrard Keulemanns, regarded as one of the finest wildlife illustrators of all time.