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Note: The webcam stream has concluded for 2013. Thanks for watching!
Mystic Aquarium’s penguins are named by colors that represent numbers. As the 50th and 51st penguins to enter the aquarium’s colony, purple represents the number five, red represents the number zero and gray represents the number one. The chicks’ genders will be determined soon by a DNA test.
Have questions? Scroll to the bottom of this page to see our African penguin chick Q&A. You can also submit questions on Mystic Aquarium's Facebook page.
Mystic Aquarium Welcomes Two African Penguin Chicks
Mystic Aquarium is pleased to announce the hatching of two African penguin chicks. Hatched on Feb. 1 and Feb. 10, the chicks will be named when they are fully fledged and their gender will be determined by a DNA test at approximately six months of age. Chick #1 resides in the hut in the upper right corner of the webcam and chick #2 resides in the hut in the lower right corner. Click here to view a gallery of the chicks when they were 19 and 10 days old.
Our live penguin webcam provides people around the world with behind-the-scenes access to the nesting room at the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Pavilion. Viewers have the unique opportunity to witness the chicks' fascinating developmental process into full fledgling penguins.
During the first 40 days, chicks are unable to maintain body heat and seek warmth under their parents. Viewers may see the head and beak emerge when chicks are hungry and when parents feed. Later in this period, inquisitive chicks slowly venture on their own into other areas of their room. Once weaned (around day 50), viewers can observe the aquarium’s trainers building relationships with the chicks and teaching them to feed. At 75 to 100 days of age, chicks are fully fledged. Soft down is replaced with juvenile plumage and fledglings join the adult African penguins on exhibit at Mystic Aquarium.
Mystic Aquarium participates in the Species Survival Plan, a collaborative breeding program through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The African penguin is an endangered species and Mystic Aquarium partners with SANCCOB, the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, on a number of African penguin conservation efforts in South Africa. Visit our Penguin Blog to read about three penguin trainers that recently went to South Africa to help hand-rear over 300 abandoned African penguin chicks and prepare them for survival in the ocean.
Check out our “Weekly Bird Bit” videos in the right column of this page. Penguin trainers share insights on chicks’ development and milestones, as well as answer two or three of viewers’ most interesting or commonly-asked questions. Submit your African penguin questions on our Facebook page.
Chick #1 weighed 62 grams when it hatched on Feb. 1.
Chick #2 weighed 52 grams when it hatched on Feb. 10.
Penguin Chick Q & A
Have questions about our penguin chicks? Submit them on our Facebook page.
Q: Where did all of the penguins go?
A: If you've been watching our webcam regularly, you'll notice that only two of the nine nests remain. These two nests are for our two chicks and their parents. Nesting season has ended for the other seven pairs and they are back on exhibit. Mystic Aquarium participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquarium Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African penguins. This plan oversees breeding for all 53 participating zoos and aquariums in order to maintain genetically diverse and healthy populations among the African penguins in our care. Each year a limited number of African penguin pairs are identified by the SSP for producing offspring. Selection for breeding is based on how genetically valuable a pair is.
We had a total of 16 eggs from nine pairs of birds (one to two eggs per pair). Of the nine pairs that laid eggs, only two pairs were selected to produce chicks. For the other pairs, we substitute “dummy eggs” for them to sit on, which you may have seen while viewing the webcam. This adheres to the SSP guidelines and also gives the penguins nesting experience. We ended nesting season for these pairs on Saturday, March 9 (they would naturally abandon their eggs after the 38-42 day incubation time, just as they would in the wild).
Q: Who are the chicks' parents?
A: Red Green (male, 26) and Red Blue (female, 26) are the biological parents of chick #1. Gray Silver (male, 22) and Blue Purple (female, 3) are the biological parents of chick #2. Chick #2 is being fostered by Red Brown (male, 26) and Red Silver (female, 26) because they are experienced parents.
Q: Why can't I see the chicks in the webcam?
A: Chick #1 resides in the hut in the upper right corner of the webcam and chick #2 resides in the hut in the lower right corner. During the first 40 days, chicks are unable to maintain body heat and seek warmth under their parents. Viewers may see the head and beak emerge when chicks are hungry and when parents feed. Later in this period, inquisitive chicks slowly venture on their own into other areas of their room. Once weaned (around day 50), viewers can observe the aquarium’s trainers building relationships with the chicks and teaching them to feed.
Q: Why can I see other adult penguins in the webcam?
A: Penguins may come indoors at night or during inclement weather (these are African penguins and require temperatures above 25 degrees). When other adult penguins are in the nesting room, a divider may be set up to protect the chicks and their parents. By nature, African penguins are very territorial, especially when nesting.
Q: Can I see the chicks when I visit Mystic Aquarium?
A: The chicks will not be on public display until they are fully fledged at 75 to 100 days of age. Until then, you can watch them grow right here on our live webcam!
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