Posts Tagged ‘Chile’

Baby Humboldt Penguin Hat Trick

March 27, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that this month, the Oregon Zoo welcomed three new Humboldt penguin chicks to their colony.  Zoo keepers say the penguins’ genders won’t be known until their first full veterinary checkup, which will take place in about three months.


The new arrivals are staying warm in their nest boxes and growing strong on a diet of regurgitated “fish smoothie” provided by their parents, according to zoo keepers. “The chicks look like velvety gray plush toys,” said curator Michael Illig, who oversees the zoo’s birds and species recovery programs. “They weigh just a few ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand.” Visitors will be able to view the young penguins this Summer, once the chicks fledge and begin to explore the zoo’s Penguinarium.

By summer, the three chicks will be grayish-brown all over and be nearly as tall as the adult Humboldts. Their distinctive black-and-white tuxedo markings won’t develop for a couple more years. Humboldt penguins live along the South American coastline off Peru and Chile. In 2010, the penguins were granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Magellanic Penguins Profile

May 22, 2014

Penguins have existed on Earth for more than 50 million years, and over that time they have adapted to living in many regions of the Southern Hemisphere. They live along the coasts of South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica as well as on surrounding islands, including the Galápagos off the coast of Ecuador, where the northernmost penguins live.

Magellanic Penguins were named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in the mid-1500s through what is now called the Strait of Magellan. A temperate species, Magellanic Penguins are usually about two to two-and-a-half feet tall and weigh between six and fifteen pounds when fully grown. Their closest relatives are the other temperate penguin species: the Galápagos, Humboldt, and African Penguins.

Penguins are birds, and they have feathers and lay eggs. But unlike most other birds, they cannot fly. While flying birds are lightweight, penguins have thick, heavy bones, allowing them to dive and swim underwater. Their wings are more like flippers that are adapted to help penguins “fly” through the water. The torpedo-like shape of their bodies and their feathers help them swim rapidly. They have three hundred times more feathers than flying birds of the same size, with a layer of down that traps air for insulation and an outer layer of feathers that can lock together to form a water-tight covering. Their feathers also help control the penguin’s body temperature. They spend up to three hours a day preening to ensure that the feathers are clean.


Magellanic Penguins build their nests during the breeding season along the rocky, sandy beaches of the southern coasts of Argentina and Chile and on the Falkland Islands. The largest colony of Magellanic Penguins, with more than 200,000 breeding pairs, is located at Punta Tombo in Argentina. If the nest has not been destroyed over the course of the year, Magellanic Penguins may use the same nest for several years. Magellanic Penguins nest in the open or under bushes and some burrow into the soil by lying on their bellies and digging with their feet. Breeding grounds may contain thousands of nests.

Penguins vocalize to recognize each other. Each penguin’s voice is as distinct as a human fingerprint. Many Magellanic Penguins are faithful to their partners. They nest once each year, usually laying their eggs in October. The female lays two eggs four days apart. The parents take turns incubating the eggs, lying on the nest on their bellies, and caring for the chicks once they hatch. The amount of time it takes for the chicks to grow and fledge depends on the availability of food and the parents’ success at foraging.

Noodles of Long Beach

Noodles is a Magellanic Penguin

When they are at sea following the food supply, Magellanic Penguins migrate along the coasts of Argentina and Chile, reaching as far north as Peru on the Pacific side and Brazil on the Atlantic side. Penguins spend most of their lives out at sea searching for their favorite foods, including fish, squid, and krill. They depend on the cold, nutrient-rich ocean waters that carry vast schools of anchovies and krill.

These penguins can be distinguished from other temperate species by the two black stripes on their chests. Other temperate species have just one stripe. It is difficult to distinguish males from females, although adult males have thicker bills and are larger than adult females. Their vocalizations include loud braying calls that sound like a donkey as well as location calls at sea.

Magellanic Penguins in their burrows

Magellanic Penguins in their burrows

Magellanic Penguins are naturally curious and have excellent eyesight. In aquariums and zoos they are known to notice new objects in their enclosures or changes made to their routines. At the Aquarium for example, the penguins are used to seeing humans wearing the Aquarium uniform and are more hesitant around a visitor in different clothing. They are amenable to some training and will follow a trainer’s instructions to swim across a pool and back, for instance.


Snap A Penguin Contest

March 10, 2013

NIAGARA FALLS NY– With their comical waddles and sleek, tuxedoed looks, penguins can make inviting photo subjects. That’s why the Aquarium of Niagara is now inviting photo submissions for a contest to help celebrate the popular aquatic birds. The first-prize winner in the contest will earn a meet-and-greet with a penguin. Second prize will be an 8-by- 10-inch unframed penguin art piece from the Aquarium. Honorable mention will earn a 4 x 6 inch art piece. Winners in the contest will be showcased during a Penguin Days Celebration to be held March 23-24 at the aquarium.

Contestants are allowed to submit up to five photos of penguins – taken locally or anywhere around the world – for their entry. Deadline for the photo submissions is Wednesday. All entries will be returned. “Most of the photos submitted to us have been taken by locals who take photos here, but we did have someone once who went to the Antarctic and took pictures of other species,” recalled Dan Arcara, supervisor of exhibits for the aquarium. The aquarium boasts 10 Humboldt penguins, Arcara said. These include William, who dates back to the aquarium’s original colony settlement in 1978, as well as 7-year-old Bobbi, a female, and Chile, a male. William is at least 38 years old, but his exact age is undetermined because he was an adult when he was brought to Niagara, Arcara explained. “They generally live 15 to 18 years in the wild, and much longer in captivity,” Arcara said of the penguins. Arcara promised many more interesting penguin facts during the celebration, which he called “a very popular event” for the aquarium, typically drawing close to 2,000 visitors over the two-day span. “The Humboldt penguins are from Peru and northern Chile – from a warmer climate,” he said. “Most people think of snow and ice and cold when they think of penguins because of what we see in the media and in movies, but of the 18 known species of penguins, only a half-dozen are from the Antarctic region. The rest are from warmer climates in South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.”

In order to be part of the contest, all photographs must have the entrant’s name on the back of the photo with location and title. The contest is not open to aquarium employees or their immediate family members. Photograph submissions must be no smaller than 5 by 7 and no larger than 8 by 10 inches. Digital images may be submitted at 300 dpi or greater. Photos may be mailed to the Aquarium of Niagara, Exhibits Dept., 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls, NY 14305.

Can a penguin take a bad picture?

Can a penguin take a bad picture?