A trio of Gentoo Penguin chicks is delighting guests at the Tennessee Aquarium. Two chicks hatched on July 18 to different parents, and another chick hatched on July 30. All three are on exhibit, so aquarium visitors can see the parents caring for and feeding the chicks throughout the day.
Aquarium aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich says the first 30 days are critical for young birds, but all three are doing well under their parents’ care. “So far the parents are feeding well and the chicks are all very vocal, seem strong and are all moving around the nests, but they still have a long road ahead,” said Aldrich. She notes that the dynamic in the Penguin colony has changed with the chicks’ arrival. “The parents are very protective of the chicks and their nests, but even the birds without chicks are still very excited about what’s going on in the other nests,” she said.
Senior aviculturist Amy Graves notes that for now, the adults sit right on top of the Penguin chicks in the nest. “It’s just amazing to see such big birds sitting on such a tiny, fragile little chick in a rocky nest. They have to be so careful because one wrong move and they could injure the chick,” she said.
Photo Credit: Tennessee Aquarium Video Credit: Jane Corn
A bundle of fluffy gray feathers arrived at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo on June 26: A tiny Black-footed Penguin hatched to mother Right Pink and father Left Pink. (The penguins are identified by colored bands on each wing.)
Though the Pinks have raised several chicks, this Penguin needed a little help entering the world. A few days before hatching, the chick used its pointy temporary "egg tooth" (located on the top of its beak) to "pip" through both the internal egg membrane and the eggshell. Normally, the chick would begin coming out of its shell at this point, but in this case, nothing happened. "The veterinary staff ultimately helped the chick come out of the egg," says zoo keeper Nikki Finch. "Mom and dad took the chick back right away and starting caring for it."
The Pinks are apparently doing a great job caring for their chick - its weight increased nearly sixfold, from 52 grams to 298 grams, in just 12 days!
Zoo guests won't be able to see the Penguin chick, whose gender is not yet known, for several months. "Right now, the chick is with the Pinks in the Penguins' night house," says Finch. The chick will stay with its parents, dining on regurgitated fish, until it is 21 days old or weighs 500 grams. "After that, we'll take over feeding the chick and train it to eat fish form our hand," says Finch. Once the chick loses its fuzzy gray down and sports a nice set of waterproof feathers, it will return to the exhibit and meet the rest of the flock.
Black-footed Penguins are native to the coast of South Africa, where they are threatened by human activity. At one time, nearly 4 million Balck-footed Penguins inhabited South Africa's coastal waters; today fewer than 55,000 remain. Black-footed Penguins are managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan.
Tennessee Aquarium aviculturists (bird keepers!) have their hands full caring for a pair of Macaroni Penguin chicks. “These baby penguins are absolutely adorable with fuzzy flippers, oversized feet and pudgy little bellies,” said senior aviculturist Amy Graves. “They are portly, but that’s great. We like to see vocal chicks that spend a good part of their day begging their parents for food.”
The first baby was born on May 24th to parents Hercules and Shamrock. This is their first chick at the Aquarium and the parents appear to be very diligent, although they don’t share the same duties. “Hercules is the protector. He only feeds the chick about 10 percent of the time,” said aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich. “But he is constantly watching over the baby even when mom is in the nest.” Fortunately, Aldrich says Shamrock really has a strong feeding instinct that more than satisfies a very vocal, and very hungry chick. “Normally chicks will beg and beg for food, but I’ve actually seen her feed this chick so full that he just stops begging,” said Aldrich. “He’s like, I’ve had enough.” Aquarium guests can see this baby penguin near the center of the exhibit inside an acrylic “playpen” which keeps it from accidently going into the water before it grows large enough to do so safely.
Paulie and Chaos, the Macaroni pair that successfully raised “Pepper” - the Aquarium’s first-ever baby penguin, are in a backup area with their chick. Paulie was involved in a scuffle with at least one other male early in the breeding season. “Aggressive behavior among males is not uncommon while they are building nests, so this couple was moved to a backup area for what was supposed to be a short time,” said Aldrich. “But when Chaos laid her second egg in this backup area, we decided they were comfortable enough to stay there until we saw what would happen with the egg. Now it looks like they’ll stay here until this chick is big enough to go on exhibit.” Both of the parents get time with the rest of the colony to swim and then they head back to feed and tend to their chick. As proven parents, they continue to feed this chick well.
Senior aviculturist Amy Graves and aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich hold the Tennessee Aquarium’s two new macaroni penguin babies
Keepers will continue to monitor the progress of both chicks closely as there are still many potential pitfalls for young birds to overcome. But if they continue to progress as quickly as they’ve started, Aquarium guests might see them outside the nests in a few weeks. “We’ll begin supervised walkabouts with the other penguins when their swim feathers grow in,” said Graves. “But even then we’ll have to see how the other birds react to the newcomers.”
The Toronto Zoo's African Penguin family is growing! Proud parents Colby and Greenbird have hatched two penguin chicks. The first chick hatched on March 29, and the second on April 1. The fuzzy little duo is now on exhibit for intervals throughout the day in the Zoo's African penguin house. They join African Penguin chick Eldon, who was born January 28, and the Zoo's 12 adult penguins on exhibit.
Penguin chicks "grow up" very quickly. To get an idea of how fast, the first picture is of Eldon at 6-days-old and the third is of one of the new chicks, at 26-days-old. You can read all about Eldon and learn in-depth about the Zoo's African Penguin program in our ZooBorns article from May 12.
Get your fuzzy here! The world's largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium located in Atlanta, recently announced that they successfully hatched two African Penguin chicks within two weeks of each other in early January. These valuable baby birds have been hand-reared behind-the-scenes by keepers. Watch the video below for their story and read our ZooBorns article from April 6 that's packed with pictures of their growth over 35 days.
Yesterday, Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium announced the birth of two South African Penguin chicks. The young sea birds, whose genders are unknown at this time, hatched within two weeks of each other in early January and have been hand-reared behind-the-scenes by Aquarium animal training and veterinary staff members.
The chicks have gone through considerable changes in a short amount of time. They are currently fledging -- a process during which they lose the fluffy down feathers they were born with and begin growing juvenile plumage (the pictures below show their progress). After becoming fully fledged, the chicks will be “waterproof.” Then the animal care and training team will begin introducing them to water so they can learn to swim in a special pool away from the colony. Once they are strong swimmers, the team will gradually introduce the chicks to the penguin colony and their habitat though they will continue to be hand-raised behind-the-scenes.
South African Penguins are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. These chicks will serve as animal ambassadors in the Aquarium’s outreach programs, helping to raise awareness and educate guests about threats penguins face in the wild.
Three King Penguin chicks hatched at the Saint Louis Zoo's Penguin & Puffin Coast this January and February. The chick hatches after about 55 days. Its parents then continue to keep it warm under their belly flap for 30-40 days until it grows too large to cover. They continue to share feeding duties for about eight months. This handsome bird is one of the largest penguin species. As an adult, it weighs about 33 pounds, second only to the Emperor penguin.
The penguin chick keepers routinely weigh the youngsters to monitor their growth. After the quick check, they are returned to their parents. Don't miss the video of this below.
Photo Credit: Ray Meibaum/Saint Louis Zoo
Now you can see the chicks in action as they get weighed... and hear them, as these little ones can peep really loudly!
The Toronto Zoo announced Friday that the African Penguin breeding program initiated in November 2011 has been successful. The zoo's first chick hatched on January, 28, 2012, to penguin pair 'Gozi' and 'Puff'. The chick has been hand-raised by staff as the pair rejected the egg as it was hatching. Two other eggs have been laid by 'Colby' and 'Greenbird". It is expected that they will hatch later in March with the first three weeks being the most critical for their growth and survival.
The baby Penguin will be known as either 'Eldon' or 'Ellie' once the gender has been determined. (A determination can be made when the Penguin is older and a small blood sample can be taken) The chick can be observed by the general public in the Penguin house at the exhibit at scheduled times throughout the day as of March 10.
Onondoga County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney joined the staff at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo yesterday to announce the earlier-than-usual arrival of the zoo’s Humboldt Penguin Chicks.
"I am pleased to announce that five Penguin chicks have hatched at the zoo this year," said Mahoney. "It’s always exciting when baby chicks are born, and so many in one year is great. We are fortunate to have such a thriving Penguin program and the credit goes to our talented zoo staff."
Two chicks were introduced at a press conference including the first chick of the year, which hatched on January 9 to parents Wylie and Mara as well as the most recent hatchling, which arrived on January 17 to parents Frederico and Poquita. Three other chicks also hatched on January 13 to Mario and Montana, January 14 to Jake and Bianca and January 15 to Phil and Carmen. Over a seven year span, a total of 34 chicks have hatched.
“It appears our mild winter weather started the breeding season a bit earlier than usual. It’s very exciting to be talking about penguin chicks so early in the year; perhaps it means spring will be arriving soon,” said Ted Fox, Zoo Director. “It’s wonderful that our zoo continues to play an important role in conserving this species. Like the chicks before them, many of this year’s babies will eventually end up at other zoos around the country to continue populating the species.”
On December 6, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo keepers welcomed the third successful hatching this year of an endangered African Penguin chick. After 10 days, the downy grey chick was alert, warm and vocalizing, three positive signs of health and strength. It is nesting inside the Penguin building under the watchful care of first-time parents, Tinkerbell and Loki. To date, the parents are very attentive and sharing in the brooding responsibilities of the hatchling, whose gender has not yet been determined. The tiny chick weighed just 54 grams when hatched, and has grown to 272 grams as of December 15.
The newest Penguin chick will remain with the parents for a few weeks, then be transitioned to zookeeper care to facilitate independence and learning to swim, before ultimately joining the colony on exhibit in several months. Once on exhibit, it will be easy to spot with its dark gray juvenile plumage for about a year. This will be replaced by the characteristic black and white feathers following its first molt.
Photo credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
African Penguins, endemic to mainly offshore islands on South Africa’s coast, were reclassified in 2010 from 'vulnerable' to 'endangered' on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List (IUCN). The Zoo’s penguins are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) program.