While fluffy snow was recently blanketing Kansas City, Missouri and knocking out power metro wide, including at the Kansas City Zoo, something exciting was happening inside the Helzberg Penguin Plaza. The first King Penguin egg to be laid at the Zoo hatched on Sunday, January 13. The name “Blizzard” was chosen for this chick since it made its entrance into the world during one big snowstorm!
Helzberg Penguin Plaza opened its doors in October 2013 and became home to several King Penguins. But it wasn’t until this winter that those penguins formed love connections. In late November, the Zoo’s first King Penguin egg was laid, and parents Jilly and Dwayne kept dutiful watch over it. For king penguins, that required them to hold the delicate egg on their feet to keep it warm, taking turns doing so for the 53-day incubation period. On January 13, the new chick was finally ready to hatch!
Zookeepers have been keeping an eye on the chick, weighing it periodically to make sure its gaining weight. Jilly and Dwayne are first-time parents but are doing a great job feeding and caring for little Blizzard.
Visitors can see the chick, Blizzard, and the rest of the flock in Helzberg Penguin Plaza.
The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is a large species of penguin, second only to the Emperor Penguin in size. There are two subspecies: A. p. patagonicus and A. p. halli; patagonicus is found in the South Atlantic and halli found at the Kerguelen Islands and Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Macquarie Island.