Posts Tagged ‘Magellanic Penguin’

Brazillian Man Makes A Penguin BFF

October 29, 2015

In March 2011, João Pereira de Souza​, a 71-year-old retired widower, found a Magellanic penguin from Patagonia washed up on a beach in Brazil near his home. The bird was covered in oil and fighting for his life.  The man cleaned the bird, fed him food and let him rest before bringing him back to the water—but the penguin wouldn’t leave his side.  After de Souza tried to release him back into the sea, the penguin swam back to land and made his way to de Souza’s home. And thus, a friendship was born.

Jingjing-PenguinThese days the penguin, now named JingJing, heads out to the sea for days, sometimes months, but JingJing always returns. ​”I never saw a critter get so attached. You can let him go wherever you want, but he’ll come back,” de Souza told The Wall Street Journal.​

The duo spends about eight months out of the year together, taking strolls on the beach and going for swims. Mostly, though, the bird just follows De Souza around. JingJing is now considered the “village mascot,” and locals say ​De Souza​ treats him “like a son.”

Michigan’s Newest Penguin

August 13, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that in Lansing Michigan, the Potter Park Zoo’s new male Magellanic penguin that hatched in May, is at long last on exhibit.

This new penguin is named Brown Right. He gets his name from his father, who was the longest living penguin to reside at Potter Park and recently died at age 27. Most Magellanic penguins in the wild live 12 to 25 years.


With the new addition, Potter Park Zoo’s colony of Magellanic penguins now consists of six males and four females.”We’re proud of this successful penguin hatching and pleased to add to the population of these rare and unique animals,” Potter Park Zoo director Sherrie Graham said in a statement. “Our penguins allow zoo visitors to see an animal they would almost never get to see in the wild.”

If you head to the zoo’s penguin exhibit, you’ll see colored identification bands on each penguin’s flipper. Males are banded on the right flipper, and females wear theirs bands on the left. The penguins often get their names from the color of their band and the flipper to which it is attached.

Penguin Chick Joins Pals At Aqarium Of The Pacific

August 12, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that the Aquarium of the Pacific announced the birth of its newest, fluffiest addition to the family, a Magellanic Penguin chick who hatched on June 5. The baby will make its public debut and join the other penguins in the June Keyes Penguin Habitat on Tuesday, August 18.

vvhpUXuh-kXhQ42rCPQ5YM13Cb0udyNFdbkCgLyXvr4The new chick represents the third generation of aquarium-born penguins. Paddles, Jayde, Mattson and Skipper were born in 2014, while Heidi and Anderson both came into the world the year before. Penguins Roxy and Floyd are the parents of this year’s chick, while Heidi and Anderson are its siblings.

Magellanic Penguin chicks are born with a downy layer of plumage that is not watertight. For safety reasons, including preventing the chick from wandering into the water before its feathers are fit for a swim, the chicks are removed from their nests after 25 days to a behind-the-scenes nursery until their down is replaced by watertight juvenile feathers, a process called fledging. The chick will also learn to swim and to take hand-fed fish before it is moved to the penguin habitat to rejoin its fine feathered community.

6DbQJ4Nd1ueHdMhpBodFnG_p4ylqs9n2YKNbtHgCXNUAccording to Dudley Wigdahl, curator of birds and mammals at the aquarium, the chick only weighed about 70 grams when it hatched in early June, while it now weighs about seven pounds. It’s about three quarters through the fledging process (it still has some downy feathers on its back) and its gender will be determined through a blood test near the end of next week.

“To the inexperienced eye, both males and females look exactly alike,” he said of the species. “There is a little bit of difference when they’re adults, the males are slightly heavier, slightly taller, the bill is slightly longer, but there’s an overlap, so you can’t really be 100 percent sure until someone lays an egg.”

And while the chick hasn’t been named yet, Wigdahl says that its keepers have noticed a little spunk in its personality. “It’s more interested in playing than in eating food, so this one seems to be a very curious bird,” he said.

Magellanic Penguins are a temperate species native to the coasts of Argentina and Chile in South America. According to the aquarium, it takes between 38 and 43 days of incubation before this type of Penguin egg will hatch. Chicks hatch with their eyes closed and are able to open them about a week later. In the wild, Magellanic Penguin parents take turns incubating the eggs on the nest and feeding and raising the chicks after they hatch.

The chick will be reintroduced to friends and family on Tuesday, August 18, when the public can take a gander at the once-fluffy bundle starting at 9:00AM when the aquarium opens.

Test Tube Penguin Adds New Meaning To Freezing Eggs

November 15, 2014

To science, she’s simply known as “184.” But on the empirical cuteness scale, the world’s first test-tube penguin scores a “100.”

Say hello to my little test tube friend

Say hello to my little test tube friend

The Penguin Post has learned that the still unnamed baby Magellanic penguin was hatched at SeaWorld in San Diego 12 weeks ago, but the first images of her were only released to the public this week. She’s the first penguin to be born using artificial insemination, a technique researchers say will help them increase diversity in the captive penguin population and help their studies of the creatures. “The goal of our research center is to study a species’ reproductive biology, to learn as much as we can about that and use this to not only monitor the health of not only our zoological populations but wild populations as well,” said Sea World’s reproductive center Scientific Director Dr. Justine O’Brien.

The baby penguin is reportedly doing well. Twelve weeks after her birth, she is mingling with the natural-born penguin population and has transitioned from being hand-fed by a team of biologists to eating fish on her own. There are an estimated 1.8 million Magellanic penguins living in the wild. The species is typically found in South America around the Falkland Islands, Chile and Argentina. The species is considered “near threatened,” as its numbers have been affected by oil spills, diminished fish populations and climate change. O’Brien says the successful breeding of 184 is not only helpful for research purposes but could help scientists in future efforts to increase the wildlife stock of penguins and other species.

Penguin 184 has a special place in history. Hundreds of baby penguins have hatched at the Sea World facility, but they were all natural births. Sea World says that it successfully completed the first artificial insemination of an animal in captivity in 2000 but that this was the first time the technique had worked on a penguin. O’Brien tells NBC San Diego that she and her team went back and forth between trying the process with frozen and thawed sperm sampled before finally managing to succeed with a test run in May. However, O’Brien says that 184 mixes in perfectly with her four adult penguin companions.

“You could not tell if she was from frozen-thawed or fresh, chilled semen or even from natural breeding,” said O’Brien. “She’s happy and healthy, and that’s what we want to see.”

A Pair Of Baby Penguins Take First Waddle

August 30, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that The Aquarium of the Pacific introduced two new cuties to the public today as they waddled into the June Keyes Penguin Habitat for the first time.

The pair of female chicks are two of four baby penguins birthed earlier this year and are part of the Magellanic Penguin family. Native to Argentina and Chile, the babies are sporting beautifully shiny coats—much to the chagrin and frustration of their adult counterparts, who are going through the aggravating two-week long process of molting (and currently look mighty angry about it).

If you’re curious about their names, well, their monikers could very well be up to you. The public will have the opportunity to name one of the chicks through the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-Chick program. When you participate in the program by donating $100 or more before October 31, you will be given the chance to submit a name.

The parents of the chick born in late May are Kate and Avery—two of the Aquarium’s birds that were rescued off the coast of Brazil. The parents of the second female penguin born this summer are Patsy and Noodles.


First Penguin Of A Kind

August 11, 2014


The Penguin Post has learned that an adorable silver and white penguin chick living at SeaWorld San Diego is more than just her looks. She’s a scientific breakthrough.

The 12-week-old bird was a product of the world’s first penguin artificial insemination using frozen-then-thawed semen. “This is a technique that has never been performed successfully in any penguin species,” said SeaWorld’s Scientific Director Justine O’Brian. Before this trial run, O’Brian’s team just used frozen semen to inseminate the cold-weather birds because the thawed version had not worked.

But on May 14, things went just swimmingly, and the new technique proved a success when the tiny female Magellanic penguin was hatched.  This has huge implications for penguin breeding, especially of endangered populations going forward.


Noodles Is A Proud Papa Penguin

June 18, 2014

The Penguin Post is proud to report that the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California has recently welcomed two new residents — a pair of penguin chicks being cared for by their parents in nest burrows inside the Keyes Penguin Habitat.

The penguin parents are Patsy and Noodles who’s egg hatched a week ago, and Kate and Avery chick hatched first 2½ half weeks ago.  The new chicks will be seen by the public when they leave their nests and join the other birds, likely at the end of the summer, officials said Tuesday.

Magellanic Penguins are a temperate species native to the coasts of Argentina and Chile in South America, according to the aquarium. It takes between 38 and 43 days of incubation before a Magellanic Penguin egg will hatch.

New still un-named penguin chick born at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach with proud mama Kate.

New still un-named penguin chick born at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach with proud mama Kate.

 The chicks hatch with their eyes closed, and they are able to open their eyes about a week later. Magellanic Penguin parents take turns incubating the eggs on the nest and feeding and raising the chicks after they hatch. The chicks fledge, or replace their downy newborn feathers with water-tight sub-adult feathers, after about 90 days.  The aquarium’s penguin chicks are expected to fledge in late August or early September and join the other penguins in the viewable parts of the exhibit. It is also around that time that caretakers will know if they are male or female and give name them with the help of the penguin loving public.


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.


A Penguin Named Noodles

May 22, 2014

Our crack investigative team at the Penguin Post has actually tracked down a real live penguin named Noodles, and oddly enough it turns out this Noodles lives near the beach in southern California.  With our fun kids book Noodles and Albie about to be released in a couple of weeks we did a little Noodles-centirc snooping and it didn’t take long for us to be pleasantly surprised by finding a real live waddling Noodles.   Turns out he’s flightless, feisty male Magellanic Penguin who’s presently residing at the Aquarium of The Pacific in Long Beach California.  Apparently, this Noodles has no idea who Albie is but he is kind of keen on a shy, sassy female penguin named Patsy, and according to their keepers the feeling from Patsy’s camp is mutual.  As told to the Penguin Post by his handlers “Noodles is a bit shy and hesitant around humans. He takes his food all at once and then runs back into the water. He’s also a bit noisy and gets very vocal at times. He’s a strong chunky guy with a very strong bite. But, despite his powerful bite, Noodles doesn’t seem to challenge the other males much.”   Sounds like some people I know.  Noodles might not be aware of this, but he might be getting a little more attention as the gift shop at the Aquarium of The Pacific has agreed to carry our book Noodles & Albie.

Noodles of Long Beach

Noodles of Long Beach

Kids Find Lost Penguin On Beach

August 16, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that after a group of kids in South America came upon a stray penguin waddling on a Brazilian beach neither they nor their parents knew what to do, so they did the next logical thing, they posted their find on-line with the query, “Found a penguin!! Need Help!”  Not your everyday internet post, but one that prompted thousands of comments from people trying to help these folks figure out what exactly to do with their little penguin, that is until the authorities arrived.

On Tuesday,  kids found a penguin washed ashore in Bahia, Brazil and after an overnight stay in a wash basin by Wednesday a biologist with ICMBio arrived to pick up the newly named Gunter.  Gunter is a Magellanic penguin, and they can sometimes be found as far north as Rio de Janeiro, but rarely if ever as far north as Bahia which is about 500 miles north of Rio.

The post that was sent on-line on  Thuesday stated that Gunter didn’t seem to be feeling too well, and lots of advice was offered on how to help stabilize it until biologists or wildlife agencies came to fetch the penguin.   The biologist said that Gunter actually fared the mishap pretty well, although he has a lot of rehabilitation ahead. She said that “it fills my heart with joy being able to do this, because for each 1 we help, 20 more died on the beaches.” The New York Times, in 2008, featured the work of biologist P. Dee Boersma, who stated that climate change is affecting this breed.  Boersma said that the penguins have to swim about 40 miles farther from their nests while hunting than they did 10 years ago. Although Gunter seems to have eclipsed that mark by ten fold.

The biologist said Gunter is in great shape, with nothing broken and he looks well. She was happy to see him fighting her when she picked him up. Gunter will be paired with a companion in rehabilitation. First he will receive emergency care so he can get back on his feet and feel better, at ICMBio in Prado. Then he will be moved to a center in Eunapolis, Brazil with more penguins and better care. Eventually Gunter, and other rehabilitated penguins will be released into the ocean from Rio Grande do Sul, the main center in Brazil. And then hopefully he will swim home to Chile. So remember, if you ever find a penguin, soliciting advice is exactly what the internet is for; and don’t forget to post cute photos.