African penguin chick #1 rests with its biological mother, 26-year-old Red Blue, in the nesting room at Mystic Aquarium.
Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
MYSTIC — Two African penguin chicks have hatched at Sea Research Foundation’s Mystic Aquarium.
Hatched Feb. 1 and Feb. 10, the chicks weigh 696 grams and 281 grams, respectively. The chicks will be named when they are fully fledged and their gender will be determined by a DNA test at 6 months old.
The chicks can be seen on the Mystic Aquarium website's live African penguin webcam. The live webcam provides the unique opportunity to watch the chicks develop into full fledgling penguins. Viewers can meet the trainers, get up-close views of the chicks, hear firsthand about their progress, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Pavilion.
Penguin fans can also get weekly video updates and submit questions to penguin trainers via Mystic Aquarium’s Facebook page. In Mystic Aquarium’s “Weekly Bird Bit” videos, penguin trainers share insights on the chicks’ development and milestones, as well as answer two or three of viewers’ most interesting or commonly-asked questions.
During the chicks’ first 40 days, the little ones are unable to maintain their body heat, so they seek warmth under their parents. Viewers will see their heads and beaks emerge when they are hungry and when their parents feed them. Later, the chicks will slowly venture on their own into other areas of their room. Once they are weaned, around day 50, people can observe the aquarium’s trainers teaching the chicks to feed from them.
At 75 to 100 days of age, the chicks will be fully fledged. Their soft down will be replaced with juvenile plumage, and they will be ready to fend for themselves and join the 26 adult African penguins on exhibit at the aquarium.
Mystic Aquarium participates in the Species Survival Plan, a collaborative breeding program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The African penguin is an endangered species.