Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: April 12, 2021 12:59 am

Humboldt penguin chicks Brookfield

Four Humboldt penguin chicks recently hatched at Brookfield Zoo. Pictured are two that were born on March 13 and 16.

Photo Credit: Cathy Bazzoni/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

Bird keepers at Brookfield Zoo are being kept busy as they care for four Humboldt penguin chicks hatched over the last month.

The eggs from which these chicks hatched were artificially incubated by care staff to increase survival rates. Penguin colonies are full of drama and eggs may accidentally break.

To encourage the parents to continue their care routine they are given artificial eggs to care for before the eggs are returned to them after they begin to hatch.

Humboldt penguin chicks Brookfield

One of four Humboldt penguin chicks that recently hatched at Brookfield Zoo. The one pictured here was born on April 3

Photo Credit: Cathy Bazzoni/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

Three of these chicks were given to foster parents to raise. This is considered due to parents being inexperienced or never successfully raising a chick. Breeding of humboldt penguins is carefully controlled within the captive population. As such some pairs may not receive a breeding recommendation for a number of years. Fostering a chick allows them to maintain their nurturing skills.

Finally chicks may be fostered if their parents have laid two eggs. In almost all cases where two eggs are laid the parents will not raise both chicks. As such placing the two chicks with different families will allow both to survive.

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In the wild Humboldt chicks receive care from their parents until they are 70 to 80 days old. At this point the parents leave and go off to sea and feed. To mimic this at the zoo the chicks are taken by care staff when they reach a certain weight. This shift creates an easier transition for both the adults and the young birds.

Brookfield Zoo participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative population management and conservation program.

This manages the breeding of a healthy and self-sustaining population of these birds in zoos. Guests at Brookfield Zoo can meet 34 Humboldt penguins at the zoo’s living coast habitat.

Humboldt penguin chicks Brookfield

Four Humboldt penguin chicks recently hatched at Brookfield Zoo. Pictured are two that were born on March 13 and 16.

Photo Credit: Cathy Bazzoni/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

Humboldt penguins are listed as vulnerable on the  IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List. Researchers estimate as few as 24,000 remain in the wild.

Learn more about Humboldt Penguins here – Humboldt Penguin Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Brookfield Zoo on their website – Brookfield Zoo

Humboldt penguin chicks Brookfield

Emily Venckus, an animal care specialist at Brookfield Zoo, weighs a Humboldt penguin chick that hatched on April 3

Photo Credit: Cathy Bazzoni/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

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