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Happy World Penguin Day: We're celebrating the hatching of two penguin chicks!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Just in time for World Penguin Day on April 25th... we are proud to announce the hatching of a pair of Humboldt penguin chicks! The first chick hatched on April 3 to mom Rosie and dad Leo, and their second chick hatched three days later. The parents have produced seven other chicks together from previous breeding seasons.


The new chicks represent the 73rd and 74th successful hatchings of Humboldt penguins at the zoo since its first breeding season in 2010, which was a year after the zoo opened the penguin habitat. With the new additions, the zoo’s colony currently consists of 41 penguins.

“Being playful, curious and charismatic, penguins are a favorite for our guests, and we can’t wait to share the new penguin family with our community,” says Mark Myers, bird curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Every chick produced in our colony is an important addition to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan and these two hatchlings offer a bright spot and sense of normalcy for us, especially during these difficult times.”

The chicks are currently living in nesting burrows where they are under the care of both parents. The penguin keepers minimize hands-on intervention except for periodic weigh-ins to ensure they are achieving growth milestones. “Both parents play an important role in raising their chicks in the wild and in zoos. They take turns incubating the eggs and share in the day-to-day care for their chicks,” explains Myers. “The chicks look well and are thriving.”

Penguin chicks fledge between 10 and 12 weeks of age. “Before the new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, our penguin keepers will remove them from the nest so they can condition the birds to become acclimated to keepers for hand feeding, weighing and other animal care activities,” says Myers. The chicks also are given access to a shallow pool where they can learn to swim in a more controlled and less crowded environment. The chicks will join the colony in the outdoor habitat sometime in early summer.

Fascinating facts 
• Unlike their ice and snow-dwelling Antarctic cousins, Humboldt penguins inhabit hot, dry coastlines in Peru and Chile. 
• Penguins are playful by nature and also noisy. Their vocalizations sound much like a donkey braying. 
• These birds are built to swim. Using their strong wings, they “fly” underwater, usually just below the surface, at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, steering with their feet and tail. 
• Humboldt penguins lose all their feathers each year and systematically replace them with new feathers in a process called molting, which can take up to a few weeks.

A vulnerable species, approximately 40,000 Humboldt penguins survive in their natural range. Woodland Park Zoo has long been committed to conserving the species by supporting The Center for Conservation of the Humboldt Penguin in Punta San Juan, Peru, breeding the species through the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan, and encouraging visitors to choose sustainable seafood options as directed by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Punta San Juan is home to approximately 5,000 Humboldt penguins, the largest colony in Peru. Photo by John Samaras/Woodland Park Zoo.
Please visit to help support Woodland Park Zoo. While the zoo is closed to the public, the exceptional animal care and veterinary teams, and other staff continue to work to provide dedicated care to more than 900 animals. As a nonprofit organization, the zoo is relying on the community now more than ever to help these wonderful animals continue to thrive. Contributions, both big and small, will help creatures of all sizes.

Help us celebrate this adorably floofy pair by adopting a ZooParent in their honor: and remember to make sustainable seafood choices to support healthier oceans for penguins. Use the Seafood Watch guide to see food differently: Download the sustainable seafood guide.