The Indianapolis Zoo is excited to welcome the arrival of two adorable Gentoo penguin chicks, hatched just days before Christmas. They’re also celebrating the beautiful differences of their families, because one of the newcomers was born to a same-sex pair — a first for the Zoo!
Same-sex pairings have also occurred with penguin species in the wild and in other zoos. The two male birds became first-time dads when their chick hatched on Dec. 15. A female that’s actually paired with another penguin laid the egg and left it with the all-male couple, who have been caring for it ever since. Gentoo penguins co-parent their young, and just as a female-male pair would do, the two fathers have taken turns tending the nest, incubating the egg and now feeding the chick.
The other chick hatched a week earlier on Dec. 8, to a female-male pair who are also first-time parents. All the adults are doing a great job as caregivers, and while they don’t know the sexes of the two chicks, the young birds are both growing quickly. The first-born chick weighed 99.7 grams at birth and has grown to 2,000 grams (4 pounds, 6 ounces) at its weigh-in today. The second chick has already grown to 1,405 grams (3 pounds, 1 ounce) from its birth weight of 114 grams.
These are the first two penguin chicks hatched at the Indianapolis Zoo since 2012, and the first for the Gentoo flock since 2011.