Meet Shedd Aquarium's Newest Magellanic Penguin Chick

Hatched Just in Time for Mother’s Day, This New Arrival Joins the Penguin Colony at the Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium, a leader in animal care, welcomes a new Magellanic penguin chick (Spheniscus magellanicus), hatched on Saturday, May 12 following penguin breeding season in late March. This is the first penguin chick born at the aquarium since Diego in 2015.

The newest arrival will stay in the nest with parents, who share brooding and feeding responsibilities equally, until around 75 to 90 days. After one year, a genetic test will determine whether the chick is a boy or a girl. Around that time, the chick is expected to be named.

The chick weighed 95 grams at birth. At two to three months, the chick is expected to reach comparable height and weight of an adult penguin, while preparing to molt and acquire their adult feathers. Animal care staff will weigh the bird daily to ensure continuous growth as a sign of successful rearing. Weight on day two was 103 grams, which is consistent with the gain anticipated at this early stage.

Penguin trainers at Shedd continue to monitor the chick for activity, vocalizations, hydration levels and more. Technology plays a big role in this process as sensors can track temperature and humidity in the habitat and cameras allow for off-site screening which allows for less disturbance to the natural process of raising chicks.

Before any hatchings, animal care staff at Shedd use candling, the process of holding a strong light to an egg, to observe inside the egg to determine if it is fertile, track growth, check for steady movements and more. Trainers start the process at seven days after an egg is laid and continuously monitor progress week-to-week.  

BACKGROUND: Late March, the Magellanic and rockhopper penguins began the annual ritual of creating nests and preparing for breeding season after animal care experts shifted the light cycle and scattered nesting materials in the Polar Play Zone exhibit.

VISUALS: Photos and videos of the new chick are available for download:   

Behind-the-scenes visuals provide a glimpse at candling process here:

Photo/Video Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium

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