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Penguin Chicks at Shedd Venture Through New Spaces and Reach New Milestones

The four chicks are growing new feathers, exploring new spaces and expanding socialization

July 29, 2020

Four fuzzy penguin chicks are held in the arms of a Shedd trainer wearing a face mask.

While Shedd Aquarium has reopened its doors to the public, behind-the-scenes, four Magellanic penguin chicks (Spheniscus magellanicus) are nearly ready for their public debut. Hatched in May, these young birds are over two months old and nearly full grown, already reaching the height of many of the adult birds from the colony.

The chicks have successfully been weaned from their parents and are now eating full fish and meeting other adult birds. Recently, the chicks began fledging their feathers and growing adult waterproof feathers in preparation for their introduction to water. The chicks are also starting husbandry training with the animal care team.

While the hatchlings may not able to join the other penguins on field trips yet, the curious birds are exploring as a group. In addition, the chicks are developing different characteristics, for example, Chick 422 is sweet and cuddly, whereas Chick 424 is the most vocal of the bunch. As they continue to grow, the four chicks will reach more milestones including their first swim, determining sexes, naming and introduction to the penguin colony.

Although these four chicks may not be out in the exhibit yet, the public can plan a visit to the aquarium to see the rest of the penguin colony or attend a 45-minute virtual penguin encounter from anywhere in the world to meet the penguins like favorites such as Wellington, Izzy and Darwin in their habitat and behind-the-scenes. The public can also support Shedd’s mission and dedication to top-quality animal care by symbolically adopting a penguin to also receive a plush, photo of the animal and regular updates on the birds.

BACKGROUND: This past spring, Magellanic and rockhopper penguins began creating nests and preparing for breeding season. The first chicks hatched on Monday, May 18, and the final chick joined on Thursday, May 21.

VISUALS: High resolution visuals of the four chicks are available for preview and download here:
Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium