Posts Tagged ‘Rockhopper’

Brand New Rockhopper In Chicago

June 27, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that a newly hatched Rockhopper penguin chick is now on exhibit at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.

Chicago's Shedd Aquarium welcomes their new Rockhopper penguin born on June 9th.

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium welcomes their new Rockhopper penguin born on June 9th.

The aquarium announced that the Rockhopper chick hatched on June 9, when it weighed about 2 ounces, and has been behind the scenes for the past couple of weeks.  Aquarium officials report the chick is growing steadily and has soft down-like plumage. Its parents, Edward and Annie, both take a role in feedings.

The aquarium’s penguin experts have been closely monitoring the hatchling, but they don’t yet know whether it’s male or female. Within the next few months the chick will begin moving around on its own. Aquarium officials say it’s difficult to spot, but is on view.  So far a name has not been chosen.

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Fuzzy King Penguin Hatchlings = Cute!

May 29, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that a pair of fuzzy, baseball-sized king penguins have hatched at the Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati, and parents and chicks are healthy and happy, biologists report.  The aquarium announced the news Thursday morning after observing the chicks and their interaction with their parents since Saturday morning. The two are the fifth and sixth penguins born at the aquarium since it opened 15 years ago.  The chicks, which aren’t siblings, started to pip – or chip away –at their eggs Friday evening and poked out and fully hatched Saturday morning. “These were some of the biggest king penguin chicks I’ve ever seen,” said Dan Clady, Newport Aquarium biologist, in a statement. Clady manages the animal care at the cold penguin exhibit.

Baby King Chick gets a once over

Baby King Chick gets a cleaning

Foster parents are taking care of one of the chicks, because its parents weren’t particularly good at caring for their egg after it was laid. The parents’ main job is to keep their egg – and then, their chick – warm and safe by keeping it on their feet and tucked under their bellies. “We prefer the parents to raise the chicks on their own and they’ve taken those responsibilities seriously,” Clady said. The chicks share an April 4 egg-laying date, said Jeff Geiser, spokesman for the aquarium.

One of the fuzzy King babies

One of the fuzzy King baby penguins

King penguins Valentine (the foster mom) and Bubba (foster dad), cared for the egg and are taking good care of the chick, Geiser said. The biological parents of this chick are Dumas (mom) and Kroger (dad). The other chick is a third-generation king penguin hatched at the Newport Aquarium. Its parents are Wednesday (mom) and Bebe (dad). Wednesday is the last chick that hatched at the Newport Aquarium, in 2010, Geiser said. The simultaneous hatching of two unrelated king penguins is a rarity, Geiser said. Over the last 10 years at Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions in the United States, there have been an average of only 14 king penguin simultaneous hatchings annually.

Interesting way for a baby King penguin to get weighed

Interesting way for a baby King penguin to get weighed

The Newport chicks were in the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit when they hatched. Newport Aquarium is one of 16 institutions in the United States to exhibit king penguins. Kroger Penguin Palooza has nine adult king penguins, as well as chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni and rockhopper penguins. A sixth penguin species, the African black-footed penguin, is also on exhibit at Newport Aquarium in the Penguin House.

Penguin Fun Facts

April 26, 2014

In honor of World Penguin Day today—and just because they’re just so darn cute—we decided to round up some fun facts that you may not know about everyone’s favorite flightless bird.  Penguins!

1. All 17 species of penguins are naturally found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

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2. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall. The smallest is the Little Blue Penguin, which is only about 16 inches.

 

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3. The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.

 

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4. Penguins’ striking coloring is a matter of camouflage; from above, their black backs blend into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, their white bellies are hidden against the bright surface.

 

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5. Fossils place the earliest penguin relative at some 60 million years ago, meaning an ancestor of the birds we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

 

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6. Penguins ingest a lot of seawater while hunting for fish, but a special gland behind their eyes—the supraorbital gland—filters out the saltwater from their blood stream. Penguins excrete it through their beaks, or by sneezing.

 

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7. Unlike most birds—which lose and replace a few feathers at a time—penguins molt all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called the catastrophic molt.

 

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8. All but two species of penguins breed in large colonies of up to a thousand birds.

 

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9. It varies by species, but many penguins will mate with the same member of the opposite sex season after season.

 

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10. Similarly, most species are also loyal to their exact nesting site, often returning to the same rookery in which they were born.

 

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11. Some species create nests for their eggs out of pebbles and loose feathers. Emperor Penguins are an exception: They incubate a single egg each breeding season on the top of their feet. Under a loose fold of skin is a featherless area with a concentration of blood vessels that keeps the egg warm.

 

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12. In some species, it is the male penguin which incubates the eggs while females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, pudgy males—with enough fat storage to survive weeks without eating—are most desirable.

 

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13. Penguin parents—both male and female—care for their young for several months until the chicks are strong enough to hunt for food on their own.

 

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14. If a female Emperor Penguin’s baby dies, she will often “kidnap” an unrelated chick—but rather than raise it as her own, she soon abandons the stolen chick.

 

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15. Despite their lack of visible ears, penguins have excellent hearing and rely on distinct calls to identify their mates when returning to the crowded breeding grounds.

 

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16. The first published account of penguins comes from Antonio Pigafetta, who was aboard for Ferdinand Magellan’s first circumnavigation of the earth in 1520 when the animals were caught near what was probably Punta Tombo in Argentina. (He called them “geese.”)

 

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17. An earlier, anonymous diary entry from Vasco da Gama’s 1497 voyage around Cape Horn makes mention of flightless birds as large as ducks.

 

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18. Penguins evolved to stay in the Southern Hemisphere because there are no land predators, like wolves or polar bears, to take make quick work of the plump flightless prey.

 

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19. Because they aren’t used to danger from animals on solid ground, wild penguins exhibit no particular fear of human tourists.

 

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20. Unlike most sea mammals—which rely on blubber to stay warm—penguins survive because their feathers trap a layer of warm air next to the skin that serves as insulation, especially when they start generating muscular heat by swimming around.

 

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21. In the 16th century, the word penguin actually referred to Great Auks (scientific name: Pinguinus impennis), a now-extinct species that inhabited the seas around eastern Canada. When explorers traveled to the Southern Hemisphere, they saw black and white birds that resembled Auks, and called them penguins.

 

 

Penguin Personality Quiz

April 27, 2013

Who can resist those snappy little personality quizzes? Somehow it feels as though some great mystery about ourselves will be revealed, though it never is.

Still, you might have been spending a lot of time wondering whether you’re an Adelie sort of penguin or a Chinstrap. The people at Pew Charitable Trusts’ environmental group seemingly have been aware of how many sleepless nights you’ve had pondering this very issue, so they came up with a Penguin Personality Quiz.

The official reason is that  Thursday was World Penguin Day — because of course every month, every week, every day, is named for something, and I’m not just talking about the sun, the moon and Norse gods.

I’m not sure how we got into all this cute naming of days in honor of one concept or another, but in any case, penguins are apparently so cute that they take up two days every year — there’s also a Penguin Awareness Day in January — leaving very little room for all the other species whose habitats are shrinking.

And the real reason is to drum up support for a far more serious test later this year: Will two dozen nations plus the European Union vote to create a marine sanctuary in the waters off  Antarctica? Russia and China are the biggest obstacles to the idea, which is supported by most of the other nations.

Into saving penguins as much as Penguin Place? Then you might want to check to see if you have an Emperor in you. Penguins apparently have pretty simple personalities; the quiz is very short.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Penguins

April 26, 2011

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.
Airborne Penguins
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.
Temperature
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.
Dinner Time
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!

Adelie and Chinstrap Penguins

Penguin Chicks
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.
Penguin Predators
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.
Penguin Habitat
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
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.

Adelie Penguin

African Penguins
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
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.

Chinstrap Penguin

Emperor Penguins
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.

Emperor Penguin

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.
Galapagos Penguins
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
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.

Gentoo Penguin

King Penguins
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.

King Penguin and Chick

Macaroni Penguins
“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.

Stuck a feather in his cap and called it Macaroni

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.

Magellanic Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins
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!

Rockhopper and Chick

Yellow-eyed Penguins

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.

The rare Yellow Eyed Penguin of New Zealand