Update: New African Penguin Chick Video from Georgia Aquarium

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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. 

Georgia Aquarium Welcomes First South African Penguin Chicks

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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.




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Photo Credit: Georgia Aquarium

More to read, just after the jump!

Continue reading "Georgia Aquarium Welcomes First South African Penguin Chicks" »

We Three King Penguin Chicks Weigh In


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! 

Toronto's Penguin Program Yields First Little Chick

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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.

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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.

Continue reading "Toronto's Penguin Program Yields First Little Chick" »

Name That Baby Penguin!

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Photo credit: Amelia Beamish

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. 

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“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.”

Learn about the zoo's naming contest after the jump...

Continue reading "Name That Baby Penguin!" »

Third Endangered Penguin Hatched This Year!


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. 

Continue reading "Third Endangered Penguin Hatched This Year!" »

The Real Chicks of Central Park


The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo is letting visitors see how eight penguin chicks have been hand-raised on a new blog called The Real Chicks of Central Park.

The blog includes photos (chick pics), videos (chick flicks), and keeper interviews (chick lit) and updated continually for three weeks. Visitors can meet the chicks and their keepers, watch them grow, and see the painstaking care that goes into raising them. 

“We wanted to show people what goes into hand rearing the penguin chicks from day one and share the growth process,” said Jeff Sailer, Director of City Zoos. “These new additions to the penguin colony are a success in animal husbandry and reflect the bird expertise we have at the Central Park Zoo.” 



With a $10 donation to the care of the penguin chicks a “chick magnet” will be sent to the recipient of your choice just in time for the holidays. The magnet features a frame with a picture of one of “the real chicks,” and a space where you can put a picture of your very own chick magnet. Proceeds support the care of theses beautiful penguins and other wildlife residents of WCS’s Central Park Zoo.

Continue reading "The Real Chicks of Central Park" »

Rockhopper Penguin Chick Raised by Both Parents at Cininnati Zoo


The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has successfully hatched 11 Rockhopper Penguins over the last three decades. 

First time parents, the father, Wallace & mom Kim are taking good care of their new chick, who hatched on June 16, 2011. Just like it happens in the wild, both Rockhopper Penguin parents help take care of their young there at the Zoo. You can see them in the video below.

Photo Credit: David Jenike, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden


You can see the Rockhopper Penguin family in the Subantarctic Display in the Wings of the World Exhibit.

Holy Penguins Batman!

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It's that time of year again! At the very end of May, the pegnuin colony at the San Francisco Zoo hatched several Magellanic penguin chicks. One of the keepers managed to get rare footage of one of them just hours after it came into the world. That video is below. 

Young penguins first exchange their silvery down for an immature set of soft gray feathers without the distinctive striping of the adult. They molt into their “tuxedo” in their second year. After training at the Zoo's Fish School, where they will learn to swim and fish during the first few months of their lives, the chicks will march to their new residence at Penguin Island. There they will join over fifty other penguins who live at the colony. This much anticipated March of the Penguins event occurs annually and is quite a sight! 

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Photo Credit: Amy Frankel, San Francisco Zoological Society

The video below of a just hatched penguin chick is rare. Normally parents will not let anyone or anything as close as this. You can only get an idea of how tiny the chick near the end, when the parent sticks it's beak and head into the frame! 

Continue reading "Holy Penguins Batman!" »

Who says Easter Chicks have to be yellow?


April is a great month in San Antonio, Texas.  Spring is in the air, the temperatures aren’t boiling yet, and the promise of a fun-filled summer lies ahead.  But what Aviculture team members at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Penguin Encounter are most excited about is the abundance of the biggest babies around – King Penguin chicks! While most Penguin species lay two eggs, King Penguins only lay one.  They carefully balance their egg on the top of their feet, and completely cover it with a protective fold of feathered skin known as a “brood pouch.”  SeaWorld San Antonio’s king Penguins start laying their single egg in late December, and as they take approximately 55 days to hatch, the first chicks typically begin hatching in early March.  The newly hatched chicks remain in the brood pouch as long as they fit, but quickly outgrow it and instead stand huddled against their parents.


Photo credits: SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio’s king chicks will likely be large enough to be easily seen by mid to late April.  They’ll spend the entire summer decked out in a full coat of brown, fluffy chick down, even when they are as large as their parents!