The chick is not on exhibit at this time.
The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce the hatching of its first endangered African penguin chick – a significant achievement for the Zoo which opened the 3M Penguins of the African Coast exhibit in 2011.
Hatched March 2, the penguin – whose gender is not yet known – is currently being raised behind-the-scenes by foster parents. The biological parents were not incubating the egg consistently so the decision was made to give it to an experienced pair. So far the chick is doing very well and has grown from 2.4 ounces to over 1 pound, 6 ounces.
A second chick hatched on March 21 at just under 2 ounces and has grown to almost three pounds.
African penguins live and nest on the southwest coast of Africa. Considered to be medium-sized, they are approximately 26-28 inches tall and weigh between six and nine pounds when fully developed. They have black backs, faces, wings, feet and beaks with white torsos and white around their crown. A black band intercepts the white along the upper breast and a small dollop of pink adorns the spot just above the eye and a few areas on their feet. Juveniles have slate gray backs and lack the facial pattern that the adults have.
African penguins feed primarily on anchovies, sardines, herring and pelagic goby and eat nearly 15% of their body weight each day. Their life expectancy in the wild is between 10-15 years; birds in human care can live up to 30 years.
Large catches of fish from commercial fisheries as well as climate change, which has shifted fish populations further away from the coast, have both been attributed to the decline in the global population. Due to this fish shortage, adults may abandon their nests or their growing chicks.