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First Look at New Arrivals, Two Magellanic Penguin Chicks at Shedd Aquarium

The hatchlings are behind-the-scenes being reared by adult birds, but the aquarium offers a first look at the additions

May 12, 2021

A tiny penguin chick rests in a trainer's rubber-gloved hands.

Shedd Aquarium has welcomed two new fuzzy additions to the penguin colony as part of its annual nesting season. Two Magellanic penguin chicks are currently behind-the-scenes being reared by adult pairs who share responsibilities keeping the hatchlings incubated to stay warm and well fed to continue growing, which is an important milestone. The first hatchling arrived on Thursday, April 29, and the second later hatched on Wednesday, May 5.

The animal care team at the aquarium conducts daily check-ups on the chicks, collecting weights and monitoring for developmental milestones. Otherwise, the caretakers monitor from afar as the hatchlings spend their time with the adult pairs who have bonded with the chicks and provide all the necessities.

Currently, the most important milestone is weight gain to indicate that the hatchlings are getting all the essential nutrients to help them grow. Upon hatching, both chicks weighed around 89 grams and the number continues to increase. Magellanic penguin chicks are full grown after two to three months, but until then the animal care team continues to monitor for activity, hydration levels, and more.

These new arrivals contribute to Shedd Aquarium’s participation in a conservation effort among accredited partners by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in a cooperatively managed Species Survival Plan for Magellanic penguins, which are listed as nearly threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Last year following nesting season, Shedd had four Magellanic chicks – Porter, Popi, Dee and Sir Elio – and there’s still a possibility for additional hatchlings.

BACKGROUND: This spring, Magellanic and rockhopper penguins began 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: The first visuals of the two Magellanic chicks at Shedd Aquarium were captured behind-the-scenes. High resolution photos and broadcast-quality footage are available for download:
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin