The pair of Magellanic penguins hatched to first-time parents Floyd and Roxy in June and is being cared for by aquarium staff.
The chicks are being raised separately from their parents because one of the eggs was abandoned, a common occurrence in the wild. When the second chick hatched, the first was already twice its size, so biologists raised it by hand to ensure its survival.
Now the chicks, which are about 1 month old, are similar in size and are being raised together for companionship.
“It is important for the chicks to become accustomed to the biologists feeding them and get used to regular health checks since the parents will not care for them when they are on exhibit,” said Dudley Wigdahl, the aquarium’s curator of marine mammals and birds. “Likewise, in the wild, the parents go back to sea leaving the chicks to fend for themselves after fledging.”
Magellanic penguins are native to Argentina and Chile, and it takes 38 to 43 days of incubation for a chick to hatch. The chicks are able open their eyes within a week, but it takes about 90 days for them to fledge, or replace their downy newborn feathers with water-tight adult feathers.
The pair of penguin chicks are expected to fledge in August and then join their parents in the aquarium’s June Keyes Penguin Habitat. Until then, you can watch the young birds on the live webcam.
The Penguin Cam is made possible thanks to explore.org, a philanthropic multimedia organization.
More penguin stories on MNN:
- Where do penguins live?
- Penguin profiles: 10 fascinating flightless birds
- How climate change may help a penguin colony