The Penguin Post has been informed that a quartet of Magellanic penguin chicks have hatched this breeding season at the San Francisco Zoo, and will be on display until the end of June when they’ll head off to “Fish School,” zoo officials said. At Fish School, the penguins will learn to swim and be hand fed by zookeepers, one way for zoo staff to monitor the health of the penguin chicks. The penguins will return to their colony on Penguin Island at the end of July. The zoo’s Magellanic penguin colony is the largest breeding colony of Magellanic penguins in any zoo or aquarium accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to zoo officials. Magellanic penguins are named because they are native to the Straight of Magellan in southern Chile, but can also be found in coastal Argentina, the Falkland Islands and even Brazil. When the chicks grow up, they could be as tall as thirty inches and weigh over 14 pounds. In the wild they feed on cuttlefish, sardines, squid, krill and other crustaceans. Magellanic penguins mate with the same partner every year, when the male reclaims the same burrow from the previous year and waits to reconnect with his former partner. The female recognizes the male from his call. One chick that hatched on May 20 was born to penguin couple Bruno and Rizzo who were also born in the San Francisco Zoo.
Posts Tagged ‘Magellanic Penguins’
The Penguin Post has learned that four young penguins who were found stranded last year on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have found a new home in the United States, being adopted as part of the new penguin exhibit in Long Beach, California. They are believed to have strayed north from coastal Argentina in search of food ending up on the beach in Rio. This is not the first time penguins have ventured too far north and ended up on Brazilian beaches, but these landings have become more frequent in recent years and climate experts blame changes in the Earth’s atmosphere for penguins straying into Brazilian waters while searching for food. “Most of the ones that were found there were juveniles and probably what ended up happening was they were following a food source far north of their traditional feeding grounds – the food sources appeared, they followed, ending up stranded and from there they didn’t know where to go,” said Jeff Gacade, a mammalogist at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The 1.5 million dollar June Keyes exhibit will house 13 Magellanic penguins, who are named after their natural habitat, the Strait of Magellan. The four penguins found on the Brazilian beaches are the only non-domestically raised penguins, with the other nine all coming from other exhibits across the United States.
The Penguin Post is happy to report that Spring is in the air for the Aquarium of the Pacific’s newest residents – a colony of 13 Magellanic Penguins. The aquarium will officially unveil its new June Keyes Penguin Habitat to the public today, but some of the birds have already begun breeding. Assistant curator Rob Mortensen said aquarium staff was surprised when the penguins, most of which arrived several months ago, began pairing up and laying eggs before their habitat home was complete. One pair is already raising a chick and another group is attending to a clutch of eggs. “We didn’t expect them to start breeding so quickly, but apparently Mother Nature took over,” Mortensen said.
Seven of the birds – six males and one female – are now on display in a 3,000-square-foot habitat built to resemble their native home along the rocky beaches of South America. The six other penguins are in a special breeding room and will be slowly introduced into the habitat once the eggs are hatched and the chicks are deemed healthy. The habitat is designed to hold up to 24 of the buoyant black-and-white birds. Aquarium President Jerry Schubel said the new exhibit will help educate the public about the environmental threats facing penguins across the world. More than 75 percent of the world’s 17 penguin species are threatened due to climate change, oil spills and overfishing, he said. “Perhaps never before have penguins experienced such rapid environmental changes,”he said. “We can help them by choosing sustainable seafood, decreasing carbon emissions, reducing pollution and protecting areas where these penguins breed and forage.” Schubel said a common misconception is that all penguins live in chilly climates with snow and ice. Several species live in warmer temperate zones.
“Most penguin species have never even seen snow, they’re like us in Southern California,” he said. The Magellanic Penguin is native to the coasts of Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. The flightless birds are named after explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who spotted them on a voyage to South American in 1519.Four of the aquarium’s penguins were rescued on a beach near Rio de Janiero in Brazil and deemed unfit for the wild because of health issues. The penguins at the Aquarium of the Pacific won’t have to worry about food. They’re fed a rich diet of sardines and smelt up to three times a day. As part of the permanent exhibit, visitors will be able to learn more about penguins through two short films, a children’s program and a penguin guest speaker series. For information call 562-590-3100 or visit www.aquariumofpacific.org.
It happens every year for people and penguins alike. Spring arrives, the weather gets warmer, and hormones start pumping. It’s penguin breeding season and we’re taking you to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for a sneak peak as to what penguin mating season is like. Just like their penguin (and people) cousins in the wild these males have to woo their ladies with just the right rock.
Yeah, that’s right penguin dudes. If you like your lady. Really like your lady, then you need to show her with a special rock before anything happens. No wonder we like penguins. When we male humans love someone, we also get all dressed up and present our lady love with a special rock (although our rock is a bit more expensive). Just like humans, once the rock is accepted, it’s time to get started and build the nest. During nesting season, male Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins at the Shedd launch into an all consuming frenzy in search of the perfect rocks and sticks to build their nests. To begin the annual mating ritual, Shedd’s penguin care experts place dozens of small,
smooth river rocks in the penguin habitat for the animals to create the perfect nest. The week-long war of the rocks will culminate with numerous nests throughout Shedd’s popular penguin exhibit and it even involves some penguin on penguin rock pilfering, as the fella’s can get ruthless, coveting and stealing other penguins rocks to make their nests the best. Eventually, it all evens out and everyone has a fine nest, although some may be finer than others (just like us). Once the nests are completed, it’s time to lay the eggs and wait.
The Penguin Post has learned that just in time for winter, six rescued penguins are waddling into the San Francisco Zoo. Three years ago in Brazil nearly 400 Magellanic penguins searching for food became stranded on the beaches hundreds of miles north of their normal feeding grounds. Over the years commercial fishing, combined with oil pollution and climate change have all made it hard for the Magellanics to find food in their usual feeding grounds. Most of the stranded penguins were returned to the sea, but many ended up at zoo’s and aquariums, and six penguins deemed too weak to survive in the wild on their own were donated from to the Monterey Bay Aquarium who in turn have now donated them to the San Francisco Zoo, bringing its total number at the zoo to 51. The new penguins will waddle into public view for the first time at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the zoo’s Penguin Island.
The Penguin Post has learned that five Magellanic Penguin chicks that have been spending time at “fish school” learning how to be better penguins have passed with flying colors (even if penguins can’t fly). At “Fish School” they were taught how to swim and were hand fed by animal-keepers at the Avian Conservation Center to help them get used to interacting with people. They have now returned to their birthplace at San Francisco Zoo after successfully graduating. The new additions bring the zoo’s total number of penguins to 49 – the largest group of Magellanic Penguins in North America.
They may not be giants, but there seems to be a Giants theme at the San Francisco Zoo as Giants catcher Buster Posey now has his own namesake at the zoo – an outgoing Magellanic penguin with a cute waddle. That Posey was a girl penguin didn’t seem to be a problem for the hundreds of zoo visitors who turned out to see her and the zoo’s four other young penguins rejoin their colony Saturday. They had spent the last month or so in school, becoming used to their keepers while getting ready to swim. Dressed appropriately in their natural formal wear, the five classmates made the annual march through a crowd of human well-wishers to mark their official graduation from fish school. As Posey dived into the penguin pool, she officially joined a zoo family that also includes Giants namesakes Brian Wilson the (clean shaven) hippo and Lincecum the howler monkey, also a girl. Her name was chosen in a random drawing from suggestions submitted by zoo members Saturday morning.
The annual March of the Penguins is a huge draw for the zoo, which has the largest captive Magellanic colony in the world with 49 of the black and white birds. They are “world-famous penguins,” said Anthony Brown, the primary penguin keeper. The newest members were hatched on Penguin Island and spent their first four to six weeks with their parents. Still unable to swim – and with their parents increasingly leaving them alone – they were then taken off to fish school to keep them safe, said Brown, who can tell every one of the 49 penguins apart. “That’s Mona,” he said, pointing to a penguin 20 feet away that looked to a visitor exactly like all the other penguins. Nearby swam Sparkles, appropriately named given her prima donna attitude, Brown said. “All animals have individual personalities,” the keeper said. “These guys take it to a whole other level.” Posey, for example, is an outgoing girl who loves to hang out with people. One of her classmates, Ludwig, is also an extrovert, while the other three still-unnamed penguins are a bit more shy. Zoo volunteer Adriana Thumm was among the humans who helped socialize the new penguins in fish school – a job that required a background check and some seniority, said the 34-year-old native San Franciscan. She watched with pride as they waddled without fear through the crowd and into their pool. Thumm spent about three hours total sitting with the penguins, who cuddled and climbed on her. “They’re a little smelly,” she said. “But it’s totally worth it. You just don’t make plans to go out after. “The zoo added the penguin colony to its exhibits in 1984, starting with 69 Magellanic birds, which are considered a near-threatened species, Brown said. Since then, 200 more have hatched, with some sent to zoos around the world. The colony has made international headlines over the years, most recently for the split of two gay penguins caught in a love triangle with a female widow. While the nearby rhino is nice and the gorilla is a big draw for others, the penguins have always been Dylan Buren’s favorite. Dylan, who has been coming to the zoo with his family at least a few times a year since he was born, said he always stops by to hang out and watch the birds, although he wasn’t quite sure why he loved them the most. “I like the water too,” the Sonoma County teen said finally. As zoo members, Dylan, his parents and brother Tyler were allowed in the gates early Saturday to watch the March of the Penguins – the perfect way to spend Dylan’s 13th birthday. Attendees could enter a naming contest for the female penguin, with the winner chosen at random. With each Buren decked out head to toe in Giants gear, the family came up with their pick in the car Saturday morning. Posey. “I don’t believe we won,” said mom Kristy Buren. “We never win anything.” For nearly an hour after the graduation ceremony ended, Dylan stood at the penguin pool rails watching the birds glide through the water and waddle out onto their island for fish. Every now and then he would spot his penguin Posey, who stood out with her all-black armband. He noted that she needed a little orange to go with her black and white tux. Nonetheless, Posey the penguin was, “the best birthday present ever.”
The Penguin Post is happy to report that four orphaned penguins have a found a new home in sunny Florida, thousands of miles from where they were discovered. Sometime around New Years, thirteen Magellanic penguins were found on the beach in Brazil, which is not unusual in itself, but among the bakers dozen of penguin there were four young penguins, these adolescents had been orphaned and were obviously in distress. The quartet was could not fend for themselves and were rescued by the local authorities. Word spread of the penguins and eventually the four were brought to Jacksonville Zoo for rehabilitation and to join the penguin exhibit. According to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Deputy Director of Conservation and Education Dan Maloney, it’s not clear what happened to the penguins’ parents, but these four have now cleared their quarantine periods and are on their way to their new home. They’ll have to spend a bit of time in the exhibit’s holding area before going on display, but that should be pretty soon. When they get turned loose in their new home, they’ll join the five penguins who already live there, and Maloney said because they’re such social animals, they’ll all live in “peace and harmony.”
Since today is International Penguin Day we at Penguin Place thought we’d put out a simple, fun and sort of complete guide to the wonderful world of penguins courtesy of the wonderful Kidzone Penguin Facts Pages.
Penguins are birds with black and white feathers and a funny waddle. But unlike most birds, penguins are not able to fly — in the air that is. Penguins spend as much as 75% of their time underwater, searching for food in the ocean. When they are in the water, they dive and flap their wings. It looks just like they are flying!
Penguins are shaped like a torpedo. Their body is built for the most efficient swimming with their average speed in the water being about 15 miles per hour.
The only time penguins are airborn is when they leap out of the water. Penguins will often do this to get a gulp of air before diving back down for fish. Penguins cannot breathe underwater, though they are able to hold their breath for a long time. They also use their ability to leap out of the water to get from the ocean onto land if there are cliffs or ice flows to deal with.
Penguins spend a lot of time dealing with temperature. They are warm blooded, just like people with a normal body temperature of about 100 degrees F. So how do they stay warm in the cold places they live and in the icy cold waters? Just like whales, penguins have a layer of fat under their skin called “blubber”. Overtop of this they are covered with fluffy “down” feathers and overtop of those they have their outer feathers which overlap to seal in warmth. Penguins rub oil from a gland onto their feathers to help make them waterproof and windproof.
Penguins eat seafood. Their main diet is fish, though they’ll also eat squid, small shrimplike animals called “krill” (see photo to the right) and crustaceans. If you look closely at a penguin’s bill you’ll notice a hook at the end, perfect for grabbing dinner. They also have backward facing bristles on their tongues that helps slippery seafood from getting away. Penguins don’t live near freshwater — at least none that isn’t frozen. Instead they drink salt water. They have a special gland in their bodies that takes the salt out of the water they drink and pushes it out of grooves in their bill. A handy in-house filtration system!
Just a Boy and a Girl…
During the mating season penguins head for special nesting areas on the shore. The area where penguins mate, nest and raise their chicks is called a “rookery”. When penguins are ready to mate, the male stands with his back arched and wings stretched. He makes a loud call and struts about to attract a female. When the penguins find a mate, they bond with each other by touching necks and slapping each other on the back with their flippers. They also “sing” to each other so they learn to recognize each other’s voices. Once a penguin finds a mate, they usually stay together for years — for as long as they have chicks.
Penguins don’t jump, they BOUNCE!
Penguins don’t live in the best habitats for finding nesting material, so they have to make do with what they can find. Rockhopper penguins build their nests on steep rocky areas. To get there, they hold both feet together and bounce from ledge to ledge (imagine Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger with wings and you’ve got the idea). These birds can bounce up to 5 feet! Magellanic penguins dig burrows under the ground to form huge “cities” similar to gophers. Adelies and chinstrap penguins use rocks to build their nests. The perfect rock is a rare commodity for these birds. They’ll often fight over or steal each other’s stones!
As soon as the egg is laid (penguins lay one or two eggs at a time), the female dashes out for dinner, leaving the male to watch the nest. When the female returns (it can take up to two weeks for her to come back) it’s the male’s turn to head out for food, leaving the female with the egg. When the chick hatches, it immediately starts calling so that its parents will learn to recognize its voice.
Penguins are a food source for a number of marine mammals, especially leopard seals. These seals hide under ice flows and wait for their prey. Other marine mammal predators are sea lions and orcas. The penguins aren’t without protection though. Their white bellies blend with the snow and sunlight making it difficult for an underwater predator to see them. Penguins are also eaten by a number of birds — for example, the Australian sea eagle and the Skua. The penguins black backs blend against the dark ocean water, making it more difficult to spot them from above. Penguins also have a number of on-land predators like ferrets, cats, snakes, lizards, foxes and rats.
Playful Penguin Pastimes
Between staying warm, raising chicks, finding food and avoiding predators, a penguin’s life may not sound like much fun. But penguins have some playful pastimes — many of which are surprisingly similar to human hobbies!
Tobogganing: Penguins lie on their belly and toboggan through the ice and snow. This helps them move quickly.
Surfing: Penguins are often seen surfing through the waves onto land.
There are 17 species of penguin, each slightly different. Some of the species have nicknames which can cause people to think there are more than 17 species (for example the Little penguin is also known as the Blue penguin).All of the species live in the Southern hemisphere. Many live at the South Pole on Antarctica. But some don’t live in such cold places. They are found on the coasts of South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands. The Emperor penguin is the only species that breeds and nests in Antarctica through the frigid winter.
Adelie penguins are the smallest of the Antarctic penguins. One way to distinguish them from the other penguins is by their all black head and the white ring around their eye. Adelie penguins were named after the wife of a French explorer in the 1830s. They are about 2 feet tall and weigh 8 or 9 pounds. Their diet is mainly fish.
Adelies build their nests of stones on the rocky beaches of Antarctica, jealously guarding and often fighting over the best rocks. There are over 2.5 million breeding pairs living in Antarctica. They live in groups of about 10,000 birds.
African penguins have a black upside down U-shape on their neck with black speckles on their chest. They are about 2 feet tall and weigh between 7 and 11 pounds.
African penguins live and breed on the coast of South Africa. People have hunted these penguins so much that their numbers declined from at least one million to about 150,000. They are now a protected species, but are still caused trouble by oil spills off the coast of Africa. African penguins are also known as the Blackfoot penguin.
Chinstrap penguins get their name from the small black band that runs under their chin. They are about 2 feet tall and weigh about 10 pounds. They feed on krill and fish. Chinstrap penguins are the most common penguins with a population of about 13 million. They often live on large icebergs on the open ocean in the Antarctic region.
Emperor penguins are the largest penguin species. They are nearly 4 feet tall and weigh up to 90 pounds. Those are BIG penguins! Emperor penguins are easily identifiable by their size and the orange “glow” on their cheeks. Emperor penguins live, year round, in the Antarctic. Temperatures can fall as low as -140 degrees Fahrenheit (-60 degrees Celsius). Most penguin species lay two eggs at a time, but due to the difficulty of raising chicks in such a harsh climate, the Emperor penguin only lays one egg.
Most penguin species take turns warming the egg, but it’s up to the Emperor penguin dads to do all the work once the egg is laid. The male stands with the egg on his feet under a brood pouch (for warmth). He does this for up to 9 weeks, without food, waiting for the chick to hatch. During this time, the male may lose up to half its body weight. Once the egg hatches, the female returns and the male heads out to the ocean to feed.
Penguins do not live in the wild in any location in the Northern Hemisphere.
But, one penguin comes close. The northern most colony of penguins are located in the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Penguins can survive close to the equator because the Humboldt current brings cold waters to the islands from the Antarctic.
Gentoo penguins live on many of the islands of the Antarctic region but the main colony is on the Falklands. They are about 3 feet tall and weigh about 13 pounds. Their diet consists of krill and some small fish. Gentoo penguins are easily identifiable by the wide white stripe over the top of their head. It runs from one eye to the other.
Gentoo penguins make nests on the inland grasslands. They pile stones, grass and sticks to create a circular nest. Like the Adelies and Chinstrap penguins, the Gentoo will also fight over stones for nesting.
The King penguin is the second largest penguin and looks somewhat like the Emperor penguin. They are about 3 feet tall and weigh up to 35 pounds. King penguins have orange spots near their ears and on the neck. King penguins mainly eat fish and some squid and crustaceans. They are found on many sub-Antarctic islands including Crozet, Prince Edward , Kerguelen, South Georgia and Mazquarie Islands. Like the Emperor penguin, the King penguin hatches only one chick at a time. Their chicks have fuzzy brown feathers for about a year after they are born.
“Macaroni” used to be a hairstyle in 18th century England. Didn’t you ever wonder why Yankee Doodle called the feather in his cap, “Macaroni”? It’s not about pasta, it’s about a penguin!! The Macaroni penguins were so named by English sailors because the yellow and black feathers sticking out of the side of their heads looked like an 18th century English hairstyle.
Magellanic penguins were named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first saw them in 1519 on his first voyage around the tip of South America. Magellanic penguins are about 2 feet, 3 inches tall and weigh 9 pounds. They are the largest of the warm weather penguins. They live on the coast of the Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. During mating season, Magellanic penguins burrow, forming underground nesting colonies.
Similar to the Macaroni penguins, the Rockhopper penguins have decorative feather tufts on their heads — theirs are yellow in color. Their most unusual trait is their ability to hop from rock to rock to their nesting places. They keep both feet together when hopping. Using this method, they are able to hop up to four or five feet!
The yellow-eyed penguins have a band of yellow feathers going from the bill, circling the eyes and up around the head. The yellow-eyed penguin lives on the coast of New Zealond. It is the rarest of all penguins due to the deforestation of the New Zealand coastline and the introduction of new predatory species to the island. Sadly, there are only an estimated 1,500 breeding pairs of yellow-eyed penguins.
Although they were in Florida the new penguins at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens stayed mostly in the water on Wednesday morning — where it was warmer. Their pool was heated and it was a bit chilly outside for their liking. That’s right, too chilly for penguins.
The eight Magellanic penguins, which go on public display Friday, can brave colder temperatures but prefer 80 to 85 degrees, said bird supervisor Genéve Darnell. They’re the only warm-weather and migratory penguins. In the wild, they migrate between the Falkland Islands and Brazil. Darnell said they’re personable and have individual quirks. “They’re very funny,” Darnell said. “They kind of remind me of Charlie Chaplin, sort of clumsy.” On Wednesday, six of them were out and stuck together, whether waddling, swimming or eyeing humans.
At feeding time, they plopped onto land awkwardly to take fish out of a zookeeper’s hand, something the public will be able to watch twice daily.
Darnell pulled up her sleeve to show a small bite mark.
“That’s what happens when your arm gets between a penguin and a fish,” she said.
But she said they’re not aggressive, so it doesn’t happen often.
Dubbed “Tuxedo Coast,” the 2,800-square-foot exhibit in the zoo’s play park area holds 12,000 gallons of water, has an underwater viewing window and is suitable for up to 30 medium-size penguins. It was previously home to river otters, which were adopted by zoos elsewhere, and remodeling cost about $165,000, according to a zoo spokeswoman.
The Jacksonville Zoo acquired five males and three females from the San Francisco Zoo, where they were hatched. There’s no way to tell them apart by sight, Darnell said, so blood samples have to be taken to determine gender. The penguins range in age from 2 to 8 years; in captivity, they can live up to 30 years.
She said breeding Magellanic penguins in captivity has been successful, with six hatched last year in the U.S. The Jacksonville Zoo has three breeding pairs and they’re hoping for success in a year or two, she said.
In non-zookeeper terms, that translates to three words: Fluffy. Baby. Penguins.